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Brave Police J-Decker
The Return of the Evil Spirit, Inti
Inti’s Soul practically purred as the outpour of energy began to gather with in her. “My children grow stronger with every passing moment.” She darkly cheered. She still didn’t have near the energy she needed, but her body was already healing, her larger form already reconstituting, and with this steady stream, it would only be a matter of time.
It had been a few weeks since Inti last showed her face, and things around the BP garage were getting just a bit weird, but not so much it was immediately noticeable to everyone. It was one of those things that unless you saw it in a certain context, the strange behaviors of the first and second command Brave Police officers seemed like nothing terribly out of the norm.
Duke had seemingly found his place beyond being a ranking officer, managing to become just ‘one of the guys’. He had gone from the stalwart introvert to charismatic socialite, not just participating in after hours events but also going so far as to think up his own.
“Why didn’t we think of this before?” Power Joe mused, tossing a handful of lightly buttered popcorn in his mouth. Everyone, Yuuta and his friends from school included, was gathered in the Decker room, not for work but rather to enjoy Duke’s proposed double-feature movie night.
“Because we all prefer a different genre of motion pictures, it didn’t seem practical.” McCrane replied, stealing a handful of popcorn for himself. “The real amazement here will be getting us all to agree on one thing.”
“Actually I have a plan for that.” The ambulance former said cheerfully, holding a seemingly empty box in his hands. The box was palm sized, at least by the robots’ standards. To a human, it was not terribly large, but would have been cumbersome to carry.
“What’cha got there Tower Guard?” Gunmax asked, making a grab at Power Joe’s popcorn only to have his hand swatted away.
“I’ve put twelve slips of paper in this box, enough for all of us including Boss and his friends.” Duke offered the human children a smile, which they returned eagerly. “Ten slips of paper are blank. One has a red dot. One has a blue dot. Whoever gets the red dot picks our first feature; the blue dot picks the second. Anything they like.” He shook the box and picked out a slip of paper for himself. “No peeking until everyone has a paper slip.” He added, giving the box to Deckerd.
The patrol car likewise took out a slip of paper, and then passed the box to Yuuta and his friends. “I must say Duke this is very clever.”
“Yeah, this way every one has the same odds of getting picked.” Yuuta cheered, pushing the box towards Shadowmaru.
“What if we don’t like the movies that get chosen, though?” Shadowmaru asked, offering the box to Gunmax.
“Well, ideally, you could indulge your teammates and give the feature a try at least.” Duke mused, thumbing his chin in thought. “But if it was something you really couldn’t watch for whatever personal reason, then you could leave the room but out of fairness you could pick the next time. How does that sound?”
The room sounded in agreement, everyone finding Duke’s methods fair and logical. The box eventually made its way around the room and everyone had their slip of paper. “Ok everyone, on three. 1…2…3!”
There was a quiet rustling as everyone opened their paper slips.
“Whoo! Red dot!” Drill Boy cheered in excitement. He leapt to his feet and grabbed a dvd from his desk. “We’re watchin’ Wall-E tonight!”
“Psssht. Figures you’d have a lame kids cartoon.” Gunmax scoffed, earning him a textbook to the nose. “Ow! Boss! What was that for!?”
Yuuta and his friends just gave the biker mech an unamused glare.
“Oh…right…” Gunmax mused with a small chuckle. “Sorry to all pipsqueaks in current company.”
“Jerk.” One of Yuuta’s friends replied.
“So who got the blue one?” Drill Boy asked, getting his choice set up to play.
“I did.” Shadowmaru said, showing off his slip of paper.
“And what feature will you choose?” Duke asked excitedly.
“Two words, my friend; Chuck. Norris.”
The first of many movie nights was deemed, all in all, a rousing success. Afterwards, while Deckerd escorted Yuuta and his friends home Duke volunteered to tidy up while everyone else went about their business. Shadowmaru stayed behind with the white knight, suggesting the task of cleaning would go faster with two sets of hands.
“You did not enjoy my choice of movie.” Shadowmaru said, after the two were alone.
Duke looked up from sweeping, startled a bit. It was a statement, not a question, he realized. “It was fine.” He stated vaguely, hoping that would be it.
“If you didn’t enjoy it, you should have said so.” Shadowmaru insisted.
Duke shook his helm. “No, it wouldn’t have been fair. You drew the colored dot, so it was your choice.”
“Still the point of this activity is for everyone to enjoy participating.” Shadowmaru replied. “You did not enjoy it.”
Duke shrugged. “I…found the film brash and exaggerated. But everyone else seemed to like it so…”
“That doesn’t mean you have to sit through it, stone faced the whole time.”
“I don’t want everyone to hate me again.”
Shadowmaru blinked twice. “What?”
Duke looked away, hiding his blush. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud. “I…don’t want…” The medic heaved a sigh, willing his emotions to stay in check. “I’ve never been part of a…group before. Almost as soon as I was activated, I was packed up and shipped out, sent away to Japan.”
“And you didn’t exactly have time to settle in and acclimate.” Shadowmaru filled in, earning a nod. “We…didn’t exactly help you in that, either.”
“No, but I understand that.” Duke insisted, looking up to meet Shadowmaru’s gaze. “I understand why, why everyone resisted me. Even why some hated me for a while.”
“Hate is a strong word, Danna.”
“It’s the right one though.” Duke insisted, his grip tightening on the broom handle. “With everything going on not just with Deckerd and the Chieftains, but with myself and Lady…” Duke heaved another sigh, and started to sweep again, though not really putting any effort into it. “Can I admit something, strictly in confidence?”
There was a moment of stiff silence between the two, before Duke finally said, “I’m jealous.”
Shadowmaru nodded, waiting for Duke to continue. When he didn’t even after some minutes, the ninja tried to urge him on. “Jealous? Of what? Or whom I suppose?”
Duke didn’t respond right away, but when he did, he gave Shadowmaru a strange forced smile. “Maybe I’ll tell you next movie night.”
The Knight then began cleaning again, as if the entire conversation that just happened, hadn’t.
Shadowmaru stood dumbfounded for a moment before slowly going back to tidying up as well, though what had transpired that evening would weigh heavy on his mind for several days to come.
It had been just over a month since Inti last showed her face, and things around the BP garage were getting even weirder than before. Deckerd’s normally protective nature seemed to be devolving into outright OCD. It wasn’t just over Yuuta either. While the boy detective was the center focus of Deckerd’s fixation, he had begun to fret over his friends just as badly.
“Anyone seen our resident spazz-o-matic?” Gunmax asked, referring to Deckerd. The Brave Detective had stepped out to talk with Toudou ‘just for a few minutes’. That was over an hour ago.
“He’s still talking to Toudou-san.” Shadowmaru replied, walking out of his ‘den’. “He’s insisting on some new equipment for us.”
“Ooh, new toys!” Drill Boy cheered. “What kind of new stuff is he asking for? Bigger guns? Samurai swords? Oooh, Light Sabers!?”
Shadowmaru shook his head. “More like Kevlar vests, titanium-reinforce ceramic-plated armor, and anti-riot shields and masks.”
“What in the world for?” McCrane asked, stunned.
“It sounds like a good idea to me.” Yuuta chirped, wondering if he was going to get anything too.
“It would be if we were human.” Duke replied, “But we already have Kevlar, titanium, and ceramic built into our armor shells. We’re designed and built with the understanding we’re going to be thrown into dangerous combat situations.”
“Including but not limited to getting shot, blown up, stabbed, beaten, crushed, crashed into, set on fire, frozen, or electrocuted.” Power Joe mused with a smirk.
Yuuta made a thoughtful noise. “So if you’re already built with that kinda stuff already…why does Deckerd want all that stuff?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to find out for the past hour!” Toudou loudly complained, coming into the room from the mechanic garage, followed shortly after by Deckerd coming through the larger entrance. “What possible reason could you think you need all that extra nonsense?”
“It’s a perfectly valid request and frankly, I prefer you not patronize me for it.” Deckerd said, his tone snide. He took his seat at his desk, but was far from admitting defeat. “Firstly, I don’t feel like wanting to protect and provide for my people is nonsense. Secondly, consider the work you’d save on us if you just had to repair or replace equipment instead of pieces of us.”
“Mmm…” Yuuta made a thoughtful noise. “I see you’re point Deckerd but,” He looked over at Toudou and winked. “Surely so much armor would inhibit everyone’s ability to move and transform.”
Toudou nodded, seeing where Yuuta was going. “Exactly. If they had to chase down a dangerous criminal or help evacuate a hazardous area, they wouldn’t be as effective overburdened with armor and shields.”
Deckerd suddenly looked like a light bulb went off in his head. “I…hadn’t thought of that.”
“That’s my point.” Toudou insisted. “I’m sorry you felt I was belittling you Deckerd, but you have to see these things from every angle.” The mechanic turned to head back to the garage. “I’ll see about getting some better quality material for your exo-skin if that’ll make you feel better?”
Deckerd nodded, “Yes, thank you. I appreciate that.”
“So…no light sabers?” Drill Boy whined.