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He was impatient.  Always this crap.  The brute set the price, set the time and place, if they didn't agree... fuck em.  There were always more bidders, always more buyers.  Still, he was entertaining their bullshit.  Why?  No clue.. maybe he was going soft.


Arms crossed and he sighed as he leaned on his propped bike, squinting up at the sky.


"This could happen some time today... or not.  Your choice douche canoe."


Now he was getting pissed.  He checked his watch, he had made an appointment, one he really wanted to get started on.


"Fuck this, I'm out."


Time was already pushing...there was another stop to make before he made it back to his warehouse.  Mr. Bike would be there just as he got there at this rate.


Leg swung over the beat up Triumph, and the engine roared to life. 


*npc*  Wait!


He revved it two more times and started to lift up his foot.


*npc*  Wait!


Foot came down, the shotgun slung on his back spun off and cocked on point.


"You fucked the deal.  This was not a negotiation.  My price stands.  Don't call.  I'll call you."


He fired, but not what they expected.  A tire hissed.


"Have a great day gentlemen."


Shotgun secured, he rode off.  They could shoot him and take that fucking ugly thing, not likely.  These jerks were newbs.  Newbs thought they were badass and try to negotiate.  Fuck that shit.  He had much more fun to deal with at the moment, and it certainly wasn't these crackerjacks.


Plus, he was pissed.  He'd be on time back to the warehouse to meet his "partner", but barely.

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Dika felt much more comfortable as he made his way to the warehouse in the daylight. The neighborhood was still bad, of course; but at least now he could clearly see everything and everyone as they hurried about their own errands and their own lives. He kept his head down, not wanting a lazy glance to be misconstrued as a rude stare and cause trouble. He had somewhere to be, he hated being late, and he really didn't want to get into it with anyone.


Dika checked his GPS one last time to make sure he was nearing the right place before tucking it back away into his pocket and making the last turn down the alleyway that led to the door with the still-buzzing light above it, fired on even in the daytime. He chuckled quietly at himself, remembering his mind racing during his last visit; full of thoughts of creepy alleyways and back street stabbings and the like. Now, in the daytime, bad neighborhood or not, the alleyway seemed almost laughably banal. It was just another alley, between two plain old buildings, filled with the same pavement stains and litter that every other alley had. It was, dare he think it, harmless in the warm light of day. He shook his head, smiling, as he stepped up to the door and gave three solid knocks.

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He really needed to... really needed to.... fuck, he was forgetting something. Eyes watched the light through his eyebrows, making a mental checklist of everything he was supposed to have gotten. Contacts, promises, delivery of loose parts and all sorts of cool shit on its way- which might even make it to his shop before he did.  Snacks. Drinks. Lost of drinks.  Lots more drinks than anyone in the new world probably needed, but he was a functioning drunk and it kept the pissed off side at bay.  Hell, if he really stopped to think about the fact he was occasionally screwing over his employers for the sake of him having his little toybox of fun he would probably feel like complete shit.  But he didn't.... cause, toybox of fun shit.


Light green, he picked up his foot and made the trek into maze of harbor fun, mildly aware there was a truck in front of him by about a half mile.  It wasn't a big truck.  Bikes weren't big things, but it was full of things they could potentially use.  If Mr. Bike wanted an exact replica, where the hell would the fun be in that?  Blueprints.... blueprints were just guidelines in his mind.  What he could create, was so much fucking cooler he could barely stand it.


The banged up Triumph turned the corner just as the back-up beep of the truck was moving into position by his warehouse overhead door.  Dika was already there.  Shit.  He checked his watch, on time. Cool. 


"Hola and shit.,,"  he grinned.  "I come bearing gifts...  and a whole lot of fucking cool stuff.  Guns, there may be some guns in there too I think. I can't remember."


Stand kicked, he flipped the shotgun off his back and punched the code to his personal door, leaving it open for Dika to follow.  Shotgun nestled back where all his other rat-rod shotguns lived and he trotted across the warehouse, unlocking and rolling up the steel garage door.  Light flooded in, revealing a huge sectioned off chunk of his work space ripe with tables and all sorts of other tools.  He'd showcased the spot this thing was going to be born. 


*npc* What'cha going to build now?


The cigar chomping driver hopped to the ground with a thud, flipping down the platform on the back of the truck and hitting the button to raise it to the cargo door level.


"You know how this works Al... I tell you I have to kill you...."


The old man chucked, adjusting his worn Detroit Tigers baseball cap a few times as the slower than molasses platform rose and he pulled up the back door of his truck.


*npc* Ya you UofM loving shit, I know how this works.


"Typical Spartan wanna be cool and into everybody's business bullshit again Al," he quipped with a grin as he climbed up into the truck like a kid on Christmas morning.  "This is Dika.  Dika is building some kickass stuff with me, he's cool."


The old Detroit delivery driver peered at the tattooed man.


*npc* You don't usually work with people.  Explains all this electric shit.


"I need more friends, you can't be the only sunshine in my life Sparty,"


Al chuckled again, rolling a skid of towering things wrapped in plastic to the platform and beginning the slow lower down so it could be wheeled into the warehouse.  Deliveries took forever... and he enjoyed the talks with the hard as nails old Detroit trucker.  Only person he knew from D that was still alive.


*npc*  Dika, eh?  Sounds like...  Chicago.  You from Chicago?

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Dika looked at the questioning man and smiled politely while lazily nodding his head. He shrugged a little, widened his smile, and said  [dika]"No sé exactamente lo que está diciendo, señor. Sólo estoy aquí para ayudar de cualquier manera que pueda por favor no me importa, no soy muy importante para nadie. Cualquier cosa que pueda hacer para ayudar a Boone, estoy feliz de hacerlo. Estoy seguro de que eso es lo que estás aquí para demasiado ¿sí?"[/dika]   Dika really didn't feel like making small talk with the man, he just wanted to get to work. It was easier to play the role of the dumb foreigner for him than it was to chit-chat. He smiled at the man, appearing to wait for an answer before shrugging and turning to Boone, reaching out toward the nearly-lowered delivery so as to offer a hand without speaking again.

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Boone’s pause stifled a snort.


"No sé exactamente lo que está diciendo, señor. Sólo estoy aquí para ayudar de cualquier manera que pueda por favor no me importa, no soy muy importante para nadie. Cualquier cosa que pueda hacer para ayudar a Boone, estoy feliz de hacerlo. Estoy seguro de que eso es lo que estás aquí para demasiado ¿sí?"


The look on Al’s face was priceless.  Boone blinked.  Al’s cigar shifted in his mouth, glancing to him.  The pseudo-Colossus snorted slightly and flat out laughed.


*npc* Fuck you Boone.  Dumbass.


Chortle continued as the platform hit the cracked pavement and he stepped on the lock to pull the pallet jack down and hand it off to his companion.


“Dika’s the brains of this operation.”


*npc* You’re both gonna die playing with all this shit, you know that.


“I’m going to die of a heart attack, preferably in the company of red headed twins that have just given me a full body massage.”


It was Al’s turn to laugh, raising the platform to grab the second skid.  Boone cast a serious glance Dika’s way. 


“This one’s the electrical components, I have a corner set-up over there,” he nodded toward it.  “Needs to be sorted out on the tables.  Have no idea how it’s packed. I’ll grab the second load and get Al on his way.  You open up your Red Rider BB Gun.  Don't shoot your eye out.”

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Dika's face screwed up in honest confusion. He had not a clue as to what Boone was talking about but he had thankfully gestured enough to indicate what he wanted that Dika could infer what he needed to know. Dika just nodded and grabbed a box and turned to lug it inside.


Dika hadn't the first clue where to set it down at, but after some looking around he spotted the mostly-empty tables off in one corner of the workshop. Dika silently nodded in understanding, realizing now a little better what it was Boone was talking about. He trudged over and set the box down on top of the table. He turned away to head back and grab another, but curiosity got the better of him and he turned back around. Dika ripped at the tape sealing the box up and flipped the top parts of the box open. Inside was a mess of packing material, which Dika shifted aside trying not to make a mess. He eventually found something hard with his hand and pulled it out. It was a bent cylinder of some sort, the nature of which had Dika completely stumped. Dika chuckled to himself as he realized with a bit more certainty that he had no idea what he was doing with any of this stuff. He gingerly put the piece of equipment back into the box and headed back over to Boone to get more.

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The lift came down for a final time, settling before the smuggler kicked the lock on the pallet cart and pulled the last load off.  The worn metal beast rolled into the dock under his overhead door.  It was offloaded quickly and returned, hands on his hips as Al brought it back into the trailer proper.  The man was getting old.  Ten years since D had imploded and the world had gone to shit, the trucker was worn then.


He hit the side of the trailer twice, signalling he was finished.  Al climbed back into the cab, Boone not far behind.  


"If you happen to wander back to the old stomping grounds or come across any of that Fordite... grab me some."


Al nodded, "pining for home?" 


"A bit, but I'm out and I'm building a new bike.  It's good luck.  Figured I'd do the guy right."


"Traditions...." Al huffed, fired up the engines and was off.


The man played gruff, in reality he was a nostalgic just like Boone.  He'd find him that Fordite.


After the truck was out of sight, he pulled down the overhead door and set to start organizing the boxes onto tables.  Frame parts, electronics, wiring, mechanics.  


Hands on his hips and surveying their wares, he cocked a brow at Dika.


"You ready for this?"

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Dika nodded, motioning to all of the boxes.  [dika]"It looks like we are as ready as we will ever be."[/dika]   Dika still had no idea what it was they were doing but wanted to help in any way that he could. Unpacking boxes seemed innocent and easy enough, so he set to work doing that, laying the contents of every box out on it's own individual tarp, like the reconstruction of a body on TV crime shows. Dika didn't know what any of it did, but he knew that it would be easier to see it all laid out like it was on the blueprints, maybe he could figure it out from there as the boxes got unpacked.

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Everything was coming together... super excited for the build...


Though, he really wanted more time to chat with his old friend... errrr bullshit rather.  Every time that man left he wondered if it would be the last time he saw him.  Weren't any more left from the D if any.  Endangered species they were. Ah well. Time to build stuff. Without blowing themselves up.  He was pretty sure that was going to be possible.  There may be a slight bit of electrocution involved.  Shit, he didn't think about that... he was sort of a walking lightning rod. Crap.  Ah well, came with the territory.


"First.  Beer."


The array of boxes weren't daunting, well maybe... but things were always better with beer- plus he'd just moved a crap-ton of stuff.  Jacket was pulled off and tossed on a hook near the door, flicking more lights on with a metallic 'clink' as the old school bulbs snapped to life and warmed up.  The concealed carry harness and the SIG in it came off too and he secured it, wandering off to a beat up fridge in the corner- cracking one open and no qualms about downing half.  Surveying everything, it wasn't just a smartass WTF let's build shit moment, the gears were actually turning...  building was his specialty. 


"Help yourself to anything in the fridge.  Two rules, don't drink the last one and let me know when it's running low."


With that, he started moving things around like a puzzle, the tables forming some sort of circle that resembled Stonehenge.  Several boxes per table.


"Unload everything from the boxes next to the tables onto the tables.  I like to have everything out and around me. Easy reach. Lets me look and think."


He broke the circle to drag over one of his portable bulletin boards, flipping it over to the blank side.. little alphabet magnetic letters still stuck to the old school chalkboard.


"Blueprints can go up here, ideas... failure and success notes.  We're probably going to end up offroading into our own direction, but it's nice to have reference."


With that... he started ripping tape off boxes.


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Dika reserved himself mostly to opening boxes and handing Boone what he needed. He was laying things out willy-nilly but Boone had a plan, an actual concept to the work; so Dika let him do it. He was happy to help of course, dragging around the boxes he was directed to fetch and making a pile of the packaging materials to be pitched later on. He loved watching the gears turn in Boone's mind as he started to piece everything together, referring to the taped-up plans now and again. That part Dika felt was strange, as he knew that Boone could probably do most of this in his sleep. It took Dika several moments to realize that what Boone was doing was double-checking himself, just on the more particular arrangements of similar parts. Dika had opened the last box and stood back, waiting for Boone to finish muttering and arranging. He seemed close to the end of the laying out and the end of his beer, so Dika grabbed a set from the fridge and walked back over to Boone with them in hand.

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Hands had been on his hips for several moments, head cocked slightly.  Empty beer on a side table, he’d been staring at everything, gears turning, glancing at the board.  He knew the ideas were sound, based in tech that had been going forward before the world went to hell.  The goal was getting it to be useful and able to not fail when it was needed most.  In the middle of nowhere with big-ass trolls trying to stomp your head.


“I want to try to keep the weight down too, brought in a few frames that might be useful.”

Gesture was toward each of the sections.


“The hard part is going to be to calculate how heavy it’s going to be once we figure out how the technology is going to work.  We can’t place it on a frame until then.  Your schematics give us a great place to start.  I think we should refine that first, then get it on a bike.”


He left the circle of awesome and moved into the warehouse, rolling a large bright red tool cabinet close to the lead table.  He opened the top, then went to retrieve several stools as he talked.  Clip lights.


“So… tell me about how much you know.  I mean, obviously you came to me for a reason… what kind of mechanical or electrical experience do you have?  This is going to be yours, I want you to be involved as much as possible.”

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Dika chuckled and shook his head.  [dika] "You have it all wrong my friend. I know absolutely nothing about any of this. I can help hand you a tool or clamp a bracket in place or give you a guidebook on interpreting these schematics but that is about it. I'm the tool monkey here, just around to hand you stuff. I have no idea how any of this even works."[/dika]   Dika waved a gesturing hand at everything that surrounded them; the parts and pieces and tools and plans. Dika took another swig of his beer before adding,  [dika]"To be quite honest, I'm almost sure I'll just get in the way, and if I ever do, please say something and I would rather leave you to it, okay? I want to help you, not slow you down; you know?"[/dika]


Dika stepped gingerly over and around several pieces and parts to more closely inspect the cooler-looking bits and baubles. He could almost see how everything fit together, but how it was all supposed to was foreign to him.

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"You have it all wrong my friend. I know absolutely nothing about any of this. I can help hand you a tool or clamp a bracket in place or give you a guidebook on interpreting these schematics but that is about it. I'm the tool monkey here, just around to hand you stuff. I have no idea how any of this even works."


Smirk was deep on the tinker’s face as he was finishing the organization.


“That’s the best part sometimes.  Besides, we all start somewhere.  What if you get this beauty out in the middle of nowhere and I’m not on speed dial?  Doesn’t matter how perfect something is, it’s going to break down eventually… but not for a long time.  Question is when, and how are you going to fix it?  Gotta know how your ride works...”


"To be quite honest, I'm almost sure I'll just get in the way, and if I ever do, please say something and I would rather leave you to it, okay? I want to help you, not slow you down; you know?"


Head shook, he was actually a pretty gifted teacher.  He was a talker when he worked, either to himself or anyone that was there with him.  He highly doubted the man would get in the way.


“I doubt you would.  I actually encourage people to see how their stuff is built… so far mostly it’s been because people nowadays are pretty keen on not investing in something and getting screwed over.  They pay money, they actually want to see it’s going somewhere.”


He paused to look over his organization.


“If you’re really interested in watching it come together, I would encourage you to come over and help.  There are sometimes though when I can’t sleep… I tinker.  I wouldn’t expect you to get out of bed at 3am to head over, but when you can it’d welcomed.”


Portable board was flipped to the cork side and he started tacking up diagrams that had come with some of the pieces.  Some were new, some older. Detroit had a wealth of things just sitting in warehouses and rotting away.  It wasn’t called the Motor City for nothing.  Getting it was the hard part, and he had connections.  That’s why people came to him. 


Clip lights were clicked on to illuminate the puzzle.  Hands found themselves on his hips as he studied it.


“Everything starts at the ignition. From there, it’s just a domino to the next step.”

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