SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

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SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby EricoBard » Sat May 20, 2017 11:51 pm

Molly Metallikat had seen quite a bit of change in her life. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, she’d learned you either stomped over others or got stomped on yourself. So she put her lot in with Michael “Mac” Mange, and ended up rising to the top of the gang world with her husband. Then, Alkatraz. Then their escape, and the accident…
But somehow, they hadn’t died. And now, they were robots. She still thought like she used to, which was more than Mac ever did. He didn’t think even when he still had an actual brain. He was a thug, she was the one who kept her eyes open all the time. They’d been revived as a mockery of their former selves. Mac had been thrilled at the idea, but her? Less so, at first. She went along with Mac anyways, though. She always did. Especially then, when the alternative was having no one.
She was a robot. She couldn’t feel the warmth of a hand on her back, or the cold of the wind. She couldn’t taste food, she never felt thirst. So very little was left to make her feel alive. For all his many, many idiotic flaws, Mac was the only thing she had left that made her feel even a little bit like the kat she’d been. Only problem was, he wasn’t himself.

The Metallikat Express attracted too much attention. So driving a beat up and stolen car, Molly drove back from a robbery at the local Radio Hut, with a backseat full of wires and metal pieces. The Enforcers, overworked as always, only got there after she was long gone. There wasn’t enough heat for an electronics store break-in.
Pulling into the neighborhood and ignoring the poor homeless bastards huddled around trash can fires, Molly drove back around into a dark alley close to the apartment she and Mac were huddled out in. She turned the engine off, grabbed for the sack full of parts, and started to get out.
Her hearing worked better than ever, in spite of her other sensory deprivations. She heard the snikt of a knife blade snapping out from a hilt behind her.

“Hand over the goods, lady.” A gruff voice ordered. Molly slowly turned, still hidden in the confines of a long trenchcoat and fedora, registering the threat. Some poor half starved mook looking for an easy mugging. She didn’t have her gauntleted arm cannon, but that didn’t matter. She could break him in half in a second without it.
“Get outta here, youse moron.” Molly growled deeply. “I’ll break your freakin’ arm.”

His eyes were buggy and bloodshot. Too much of the wild juice, Mac’d say. Drugs. Something worse than katnip.
The idiot didn’t listen. He charged at her. Molly sidestepped the wild stab and snapped her hand out, grabbing hold of his forearm between elbow and wrist. And then she squeezed.
The bones crackled and snapped effortlessly, and he shrieked in pain as he dropped the knife. For good measure, Molly kicked him hard into the wall, knocking him unconscious. He might live if he woke up quick enough to get to a hospital. He might not. Didn’t matter. Only two lives mattered to Molly Metallikat. Her own, and a little after that, Mac’s. Anyone who’d seen the failed mugging had quickly made themselves scarce. She gave her head a shake and went to the old garage door beside the building, hinging it open and up with a quick jerk. After she’d stepped through, she slammed it back down again.

“Izzat you, Molly?” The voice of her husband came out of the hovel they called home, along with the gentle tink-tink-tinking of tiny metallic pincer legs.

“What do you think, bucket butt?” She snapped back. Her trenchcoat and hat were flung over the hood of the Metallikat Express haphazardly, and she took the bag into the dingy apartment with the flickering lights.
Mac was waiting for her in the kitchen, perched up on top of the counter on the tiny tripod legs that supported his head. His body had been lost to Zed completely, and he had a sour look as he glanced between her and a pitiful looking metal frame on the kitchen table; her ongoing attempt to make something to replace it. “About freakin’ time you got back. I’ve been sittin here going crazy, and there’s nothin’ but reruns on the TV.”
“Excuse me for living.” She slammed the bag hard on the table next to the makeshift robot body. “It ain’t easy casing a joint these days, or getting in and out without being seen.”
“Fine, whatever. You got the parts?”
“Yeah, I got the parts. Keep your shirt on.”
“Molly, I don’t got no freaking body right now, what the hell am I supposed to do with a shirt?” Mac countered. His head scuttled to the edge of the counter and made the short leap to the kitchen table, staring down at what Molly had spent too many long days working on. He still scowled over it. “Unbelievable. It looks like you used a damn Erector Set.”
“Well, what did you expect? We ain’t exactly mechanical geniuses, genius!” Harder than she needed to, she tore the bag apart to get to the wires and electronics she’d swiped. “Now keep your mouth shut and lemme work on this. Unless you prefer bein’ a talking head the rest of your life.”
Mac growled and cursed under his breath, but took the hint and jumped off the kitchen table to let her work. The precious silence Molly needed to try to cobble together a replacement body lasted for almost a full three hours, with Mac turning up right as she was making the final adjustments.
“Is it finished?” Mac demanded.
“Almost, bolt breath.” Molly groused softly. “It don’t got much for a battery, but it’ll get you moving again until we can get you something close to what you had before.”
“Great. Tell me when I can plug into it.”
Molly used a lead tester to check the power relays one last time, then stepped back. “Give it a try.”
Mac’s head hopped up onto the table and fitted itself over the stump of the neck, making the vital connections to the scrawny metal chassis. It twitched a few times as he sat up, and Mac was just starting to laugh when he swung his legs out to the side and tried to walk.
The thing shorted out, sparking and throwing off smoke, and the backpulse forced Mac to eject from it, screaming in pain. His body, the product of countless weeks of work by his wife, collapsed and fell apart into its composite parts.
“Oh, great job, Molly!” Mac snapped at her sarcastically. “The thing almost fried my circuits but good that time!”
Molly picked up the biggest piece of what was left of Mac’s replacement torso and hurled it into the wall with an angry scream. Angry at him, or the situation, she wasn’t sure which. Both, probably. Whatever it was, the scrap metal was embedded in the drywall after the impact.
“Like you could do any better.” Came her sullen response. “Guess I ain’t a mechanic after all.” I tried. I really did.
“Knew that when I married ya, Molly.” Mac snipped back. Underneath the sarcasm, there was still that trace of genuine warmth that the two had for each other. They spent all their lives with their walls up, and even as robots, they could hear the subtext beneath the insults. I know you tried your best.
Mac’s head looked up at her. “We gotta do something, though. We can’t exactly start a new crime spree if I’m nothin’ but a good looking face.”
“All right. The Professor?” Molly wagered. “I know neither of us are too keen on going back there, but the old geezer fixed us in the first place. He might have an extra robot body lying around.”
“Forget it.” Mac quickly dismissed the idea. “I ain’t getting nowhere near that codger, and neither are you. He’d probably have some way to neutralize us, and then he’d reprogram us. Not happening.” Mac and Molly thought quietly for a bit longer, and then he offered another dubious choice. “What about those two SWAT Kats? The grease monkeys? They might have somethin’ lying around I could use. Hell, they might’ve even grabbed the scraps of me out from under Feral’s nose.”
“Are you stupid or something?” Molly asked, and she waved him off before he could respond. “Don’t answer that, I know you are.”
“Hey!”
“The last time we stumbled onto their base, they took us out even after we caught ‘em with their pants down.” Molly reminded him. “This time around we won’t have that kind of surprise workin’ for us, and they’ve probably got better weapons ready and waiting for us to try again. And you’re useless in a fight. No. We’ve got enough trouble with those bastards when we’re on a job. There’s no way we’re walking back into that lion’s den.”

“All right then, what do you think we should do?” Mac questioned her. “Because we tried lyin’ low and building me a new body from scratch, and that was a waste of time.”
Molly, forever the smarter of the two, had another idea already waiting in the wings.

“You remember those giant kat robots we hijacked?”
“Sorta.” Mac grunted. “I remember they didn’t do us a lick of good.”
“How much you wanna bet that they’ve got something better lying around there we could use for youse?” Molly offered, and Mac slowly started to chuckle at the idea.
Molly grinned as well. “I think we oughta pay that Pumadyme place another visit.”
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby Cody Furlong » Sun May 21, 2017 3:38 pm

Very nice! Love the idea, but you need to watch your spacing. That big block of text really made reading it grind down to a halt.
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby EricoBard » Sun May 21, 2017 7:44 pm

Well, that's just plain silly...

When the thing gets finished and put up on FF.net, the spacing will be much more agreeable. BB posting just gets chunky when I don't bother hitting the return key as often as you'd like. Formatting aside, I'm glad it's got your interest piqued.

This next chapter's going to be a fun one...
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby MoDaD » Mon May 22, 2017 1:23 pm

That's a great scene, and I like the little details you added to Molly's thoughts. The exchange between the two was very in-character and amusing :lol:

I do have a thought about this:

EricoBard wrote:He charged at her. Molly sidestepped the wild stab and snapped her hand out, grabbing hold of his forearm between elbow and wrist.


Do you think that Molly would bother to move out of the way? Or, do you think it'd be more in-character to allow herself to get stabbed, with the knife fruitlessly breaking/being ineffective on impact (with the assailant being perplexed by that) and then her reacting?

Anyway, seems like a nice follow-up to one of the show's unresolved elements. I'm curious if you're going to play it straight with the new robot body angle being revisited or throw in some wildcard plot twist :D
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby EricoBard » Mon May 22, 2017 1:55 pm

I've already decided that SK Transitions isn't going to be a tie-in to Revolution, so no, not a preview of what the Metallikats might end up looking like in that iteration. Transitions is going to be operating in its own Timeline, similar to how I ran the "Legacy of Metal" for Mega Man. The highlights are on TV Tropes, if you want to take a peek.

We don't know enough of what the show MIGHT end up looking like, and that's IF it does get made instead of our chains getting yanked like they have been the last two years, so I'd rather not write myself into a corner and doom it all.

Whereas "Foundation of Trust" was originally a more respectable prequel, and then a glimpse into what the space between Seasons and the aftermath of Unlikely Alloys might have been, Transitions is my attempt at a what-if that's a little more driven by heart and a little less at clearing the board of supervillains. Digital Divide's just the second chapter. There will be about 7 or so.

-Erico
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby EricoBard » Fri May 26, 2017 10:18 am

Quick question: Was the Metallikat Express eaten by Zed in Unlikely Alloys?
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby MoDaD » Fri May 26, 2017 4:19 pm

EricoBard wrote:Quick question: Was the Metallikat Express eaten by Zed in Unlikely Alloys?


Yes :D
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby EricoBard » Fri May 26, 2017 5:51 pm

Right. Easy fix.

Writers: always double check for continuity.
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby EricoBard » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:33 pm

Enforcers HQ
Commander Feral’s Office



Lieutenant Feral didn’t get called into her uncle’s office that often. The elder Feral preferred to avoid the appearance of either socializing with his niece or calling her to the carpet too often. It was a means of protecting her from gossip from the rest of the force, and himself from the gossips outside of it.
She had a feeling, as she passed by the staff sergeant who always guarded her uncle’s doorway, that this wasn’t going to be a very happy meeting. She got that vibe just by how the middle-aged tom in the tan uniform gave her the barest nod and waved her back. “He’s expecting you.”
“Thanks.” Felina had a fairly good idea what it was that had Commander Ulysses Feral’s dander up this morning, so she ran through the arguments that she’d made in her head after submitting her after-action report yesterday, took a deep breath, and swung the door open in her usual assertive style.

Her Uncle was sitting at his desk, calmly drinking a cup of coffee while examining the contents of a manila folder. “Come in.” He said out of habit, even though she had never knocked.
“What did you need, Commander?” Felina inquired. Until he turned down the pressure, she’d keep it professional.
“I was reviewing your report, Felina.” He responded, setting first his mug down, and then the report. Only after he’d accomplished that did he look up with a dark glower. “I have some questions regarding the flow of events. Specifically…”
“Specifically regarding the radio jammer provided to the 6th TRS by Razor.” Felina cut him off, easily identifying the problem. “Your orders were very specific, Uncle. The SWAT Kats did not participate in the operation. At no time did either of them move into the building. We merely made use of their technology as a means of preventing the criminals from detonating their explosives, communicating effectively, and turning the hostage situation into a tragedy.”

His eyes fairly brimmed with angry light. “Splitting the hairs rather finely, aren’t you, Lieutenant?”
“I don’t know what you mean, sir.” She replied stiffly.
Feral let out a growl and stood up, leaning over his desk with all the imposing presence he was famous for. It terrified the rookies and those who didn’t know him as well. Felina stared at him and recalled, briefly, the uncle who showed up at family gatherings and fidgeted in the sweaters knitted by her grandmother, forever uncomfortable but too awkwardly situated to say anything about it. She kept down the smile and stood straight, unimpressed by the power tactic.
“You’re getting far too comfortable with those two vigilantes.” He said. “Tell me, Felina, if I were to follow you around, would I find that you’ve been spending time with the SWAT Kats?”
“It was my understanding that who I spent time with off the clock was none of your damn business.” Lieutenant Feral quipped back. “You indicated as much the last time I was in this office.”
“A decision I am beginning to regret making. The media is constantly enamored by them. That’s their prerogative. Yesterday, Ann Gora all but made a fool of me in her interview, because the actions of your team, and the involvement of the SWAT Kats were two different stories.”
“You should have said ‘No Comment’ and walked away from her then.”
“Were I in a less forgiving mood, I would accuse you of collaborating with the enemy.” He snapped. “As Enforcers, we need to walk a distinct line of separation.”
“You say that, but right now, we have the start of the city council approved citizen neighborhood defenders already beginning to take shape. Citizen defenders being trained. By us.” Felina pressed on, tired of her uncle always playing the righteous indignation card and conveniently forgetting it when the circumstances dictated more extreme intervention. “We need them.”
“We do not…”
“Who are you trying to convince? Me, or yourself?” Felina’s tail swished angrily behind her. “Let’s face it. They can’t be everywhere at once. That’s our job. But when the real trouble happens…Zed, Dark Kat, Viper, who do we end up relying on to save our tails? Them! I swear, Uncle, when it comes to the SWAT Kats, you’re such a hypo…”
“That is enough, lieutenant!” Feral almost shouted, slamming his fist down on his desk with enough force to make some coffee splash out of his mug and stain the corner. The two stood there fuming at one another, neither one backing down. The Feral stubbornness, out in plain view once more.

Feral finally pointed a shaking finger at her. “This is a direct order. Under no circumstances are you to incorporate either the SWAT Kats or their technology into the operations of the 6th Tactical Response Squadron. I will draft a memo and have it sent to your office so there will be no confusion as to my meaning or intent. Am I perfectly understood, Lieutenant Feral?”
“…Yes. Sir.”
“One more thing. Are you aware of their real identities?”
A pause of three heartbeats came while she somehow rose another few centimeters in height. “May I ask in which spirit you are asking this question?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, are you asking as the head of the Enforcers, or as a concerned uncle?” Felina countered.
“Both, goddamnit.”

“I see. I am going to say some things, and then I am going to give you the opportunity to retract that question.” Felina stood at parade rest. “First off, anyone who did know their secret identities would immediately become a target to the dozens of criminals and terrorists that they’ve put away over the years. Second, it is my personal opinion that the SWAT Kats are just as vital to the defense of Megakat City as we are. And that opinion isn’t exclusive among the Enforcers, not anymore. So if I did know, and you ordered me to tell you, I would have to turn in my badge. Finally, if I did know who they were, and you threatened me with prison to get me to tell you, what would you do with the information? Because I can guarantee you that the moment that the word gets out who they really are? The moment you arrest them and throw them behind bars for trying to stand up for this city against criminals and maniacs, the powderkeg in the streets below this ivory tower you live in is going to explode. The citizens will despise you for taking their heroes away, and every malignant waste of life will roll in because you’ve neutralized the one force that makes them think twice about trying anything.”

Felina hadn’t blinked at all. Feral’s shoulders rose and fell from slow, heavy breaths. She narrowed her gaze ever so slightly. “Now then. Do you really want to ask me that question?”
“…Get out.” He growled.
Felina turned sharply on her back heel and started for the door. She had her hand on the knob before he spoke again.
“You’re turning into a loose cannon, lieutenant! Don’t think I won’t boot you off the force if you keep this up! I’ve done it before!”
Her blood was at full boil. She knew exactly who her uncle meant. Chance and Jake. The Staff Sergeant rose from his desk as she stormed out, staring at her with his mouth open a little bit. Like you didn’t see this coming?
“Then fire me!” She screamed, never breaking stride, ignoring the elevator and moving to the stairs. It took her longer to get to her unit’s offices, but she needed the time in the long stairwell to cool off.
And just as she’d expected, a memo arrived two hours later with the new ‘No SWAT Kats’ directive. Sergeant Barnes glanced at it once, chuckled a bit, and sauntered off to the water cooler, unconcerned.
As for being fired, nothing came of it.
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Re: SK Transitions: Digital Divide (Preview)

Postby GeminiGenie » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:24 pm

This second Chapter was beautiful. Well written, excellent characterization. Felina's words to Feral were spot on. The Swat Kat's relationship to Megakat City is a lot like of that of Batman and Gotham. He could stop. He could just...reveal his identity to all Gotham and bow out of the crime fighting game. It would be one of the worst, and most irresponsible things he could ever do. And one of the worst, most irresponsible things Feral could do arresting them.
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