Allyson tuned out the rest of
the report and focused on her dinner. Her father was working late
again. Since his new promotion he had been missing dinner more and more
often. Allyson's mother was bothered, but only because it disrupted her
own plans. Now she watched the news as they ate their meal. "How was
school dear?" Allyson's mother asked. Her attention was divided between
the news which was now covering the dedication of a new wing at the
museum of antiquities and her daughter.
"Oh it went well enough. My financial report got good marks." Allyson asked herself if her mother even knew what the report had been about. She had asked her parents for help, but they were far too busy living their lives to help her with school work.
"That's nice. And you should say received, not got. Got sounds so unrefined." Her mother finished her plate and looked across the table at her. "Honestly, I have no idea how you expect to get ahead in life without presenting the right face to the world. That nice young man, what was his name? Jenson, yes, Derick Jenson. You could have had such a nice relationship with him had you only minded your manners"
Allison sighed. Derick had only been interested in her for two reasons. The first was that his father worked for hers and he wanted an in. The other was something she certainly wasn't going to speak with her parents about.
"He'll find a nice cheerleader mother. Don't worry," She said, hoping to placate her mother. She stood and started toward her room.
"You still haven't told us if you plan on attending the reception next Thursday. It would be a good thing to attend. A girl of your age should already be courting"
There were several things she could say at this point. The fist was 'There is no way I would be caught dead at that cattle auction,' but that would be inflammatory at best. 'Courting went out with serfdom,' was another, but again would be taken poorly.
"I don't know if the research group will let me miss the meeting, half my grade is on the project." She took the easy way out, invent a school function that was at once unofficial and required.
"Well, let us know if they will. You have missed so many social functions lately. Being intelligent is a wonderful thing, but only if it doesn't detract from your life"
"Yes mother," Allison hurried down the hall to her room, anxious to avoid that debate. She shut the door, slid on some slippers and sat down at her computer. It had taken her a while to save up for this one, but it was worth it. The ITS that the city provided was a decent machine, but Allison wanted something with some real power behind it. She started up a playlist of her favorite songs and logged into CityNet.
/CityNet/Public/IntrestGroups/Electronics/145932 Logging disabled, Users online: 15
Orb's Scythe: hey mists
Mists of Time: Hey Scythe.
Orb's Scythe: thanks again for the program you sent me. I tried it out today and it's the best solution yet Mists of Time: No problem. I told you it would be better than hard wiring it in. The pilot has enough to worry about. Orb's Scythe: I know, you were right. Now all I have to do is figure out what's causing the power drain. Until I do this thing isn't moving much more than a couple miles Orb's Scythe: Well, that and get the rest of the parts.
Mists of Time: I still get a ride when it's done right?
Orb's Scythe: Definitely. That's the least I owe you for your help. Besides then I can see your place.
WK has returned.
Orb's Scythe: wb dude WK: thanks. Hey, did you say you're having problems with the power differential?
Orb's Scythe: yeah, got a loss somewhere between the battery and the router Mists of Time: I tell you it's the cable you're using, ditch the low grade stuff and find something made in the last fifty years.
WK: did you check if it runs past the gyro compass? The magnetics could cause the drain.
Orb's Scythe: I'll have to check. Thanks for the rest though. If I can get this last part figured out I'll have one mean machine.
Mists of Time: Gtg, dad just got home and wants to "talk"
Orb's Scythe: good luck, I'll let you know what happens.
Mists of Time: Later.
Mists of Time has left the room.
WK: Sorry, I thought I was done but the guys want some help. Send me a picture when you get it up and running.
Orb's Scythe: sure WK has left the room.
Patrick signed off and leaned back in his chair. His dad was sleeping next door, raising a racket. The only good thing about living in what used to be an attic was that there were no neighbors to keep you up. He had already printed up his assignment for the next day which was. . . somewhere beneath the plans that littered his small room. It was definitely time for bed if he wanted to be awake for school tomorrow. He turned off his computer and slid into his bed wrapping the threadbare comforter around himself. The sounds of the city, traffic, and the occasional gunshot from across the freeway lulled him to sleep.
was dropped off the next morning at the doors of Society Hill High
School, the nicest public school in the area, which if you thought
about it meant a lot. She shouldered her backpack and worked her way
into the crowds. The students were engaged in their usual pre-school
pastimes: Playing little social games, working on homework, and
discussing the upcoming football game. Allyson on the other hand went
to her locker and then to the computer lab. Other than the teacher the
lab was deserted this early. That was just how she liked it. She logged
into her usual workstation and went over her program problems from the
other day. She was ahead of the class and would easily be done before
the deadline, but there were still some bugs that she just couldn't
"Attention students, please remember that there will be an assembly today after second period. Attendance is mandatory." The PA system announced. It was a well known secret that today was the police assembly to discuss criminal activity and socially acceptable alternatives. It was also a well known secret that at least a quarter of the students would try to skip the whole thing. Allyson was just bored with it.
The school didn't seem to understand that if a student was a criminal that a simple assembly would change their ways. They also didn't get that students weren't likely to see anything to report about crime. They still had the assemblies though.
"If you leave the files open I'll run the compiler before the assembly starts Allyson"
Allyson looked up. Mrs. Reid smiled at her then went back to her own computer.
"Thanks," She replied as the bell rang.
"There you go. I'll see you third period"
"See you soon Mrs. Reid."
School had gone pretty much as Allyson had expected. The assembly was a bore, the cheerleaders obnoxious, and the classes tedious. After the final bell had rung she stayed behind in the computer lab and finished up her most pressing bugs. She just couldn't leave it alone when there were bugs in her code. Still, her project was coming along nicely and as she started home she was feeling pretty good about herself. Allyson had started walking home from school last year when she first started staying long hours at the computer lab. Her parents had naturally been upset, but a combination of logic and the sad puppy face had won them over. The day was still warm, very little wind, and best of all clear skies. She walked down past several blocks of houses and shops in a good mood. The mood lasted until she decided that it would be a good idea to walk up an alley between a supermarket and a pawnshop.
Jackson, or "The Beef" as he liked to be called was not the smartest
bruiser in the color gang. Then again, the reason that he'd been
selected was not his intelligence but because he was strong enough to
make breaking and entering easy. For example he did not ask why the
gang had taken work with a crime lord, nor why they had just knocked
over a computer store and not taken all the software they could carry.
He also did not ask why there was an enforcer from said crime lord with
them either. All he worried about was if this run was going to be as
much fun as advertised.
His friends though were a little leery of the clean cut man who didn't say much. They really wondered what the boss had been thinking, and were even more worried that the little they had taken was likely to bring some serious heat down on their heads. Still, the job had gone well and the enforcer had made short work of the security system. Even the police had not been alerted yet so they were taking a slightly more out of the way route than they might otherwise have. The one thing they did not count on was that The Beef had seen a movie last night and now fancied himself somewhat of a ladies man.
There was the normal whispering and pointed looks as they turned into the alley between the District Pawnshop and the supermarket and saw the girl walking toward them. Then as they were walking by Beef filled up the alley and started talking at her.
"Hey baby, how about you and me have a good time"
The gang members chuckled slightly. The Beef was never going to score with a chick like this, no way. The enforcer just looked annoyed. Then again he always looked annoyed.
"Buzz off creep," the girl said as she tried to brush past him.
No one was prepared for what happened next. The gang members thought that since The Beef had struck out that they would be moving on. The enforcer was bored and wondered why he had to even associate with these small time chumps. But Beef, bolstered by last night's movie, didn't move. In fact he very actively didn't move. And when someone the size of The Beef didn't move there was no brushing past him.
"Oh I think we are going to have a good time right girlie?" The Beef, who had been carrying the bulk of the loot in two shopping bags set them down and grabbed her wrist.
The enforcer looked back down the alley, hoping no one would notice the idiot's behavior and in doing so missed what happened next.
The girl screamed and pulled her hand back toward herself. The Beef didn't budge other than to pull her toward him. She screamed again and suddenly The Beef found himself holding water. He let go as it was pulled away from him and looked at the girl puzzled. The girl's entire left arm that was visible below her shirt sleeve was now made of water. She quickly turned to run, her arm returning to its solid state when the rest of the gang circled around her. Then things really got bad.
"Halt criminals!" A voice called out from the end of the alley. There stood a man carrying a glowing sword and dressed in a costume and cape with a D stamped on the breast.
The enforcer whipped around and fired some sort of laser weapon at the hero. At the same time one of the punks pushed the girl over into the bags of loot. While the battle raged above her the girl tried to break her fall and clutched wildly at the ground. What she didn't notice is that when she fell on the bags something slid into her pocket. She had other problems, like running away to deal with. When she reached the end of the alley she looked back for just a second. The hero with the sword was advancing and several of the punks were unconscious around him. He was engaged in some sort of wrestling contest with The Beef. The enforcer put away his gun and faded into a living shadow. Their eyes met for a brief moment and he smiled.
The girl ran.
Allyson didn't stop running until she was several blocks away and
drawing attention to herself. At that point she slowed to a walk looked
around. She was a couple of blocks removed from what had just happened.
She started to tremble with the shock of it. Quickly spying a internet
café she walked in and sat at a terminal before her now weak knees
collapsed on her. After she had scoffed at the crime assembly (Only
five people managed to avoid being there, she had counted) Allyson
never thought she would be involved in something like that. And to top
it off she had panicked and used her powers. That scared her more than
anything else. Fortunately the big guy had been blocking most of the
sight, but if anyone had seen. . . She took a calming breath. No one
had seen, and she had gotten away. That was what mattered. Still, what
about that shadow man. He had scared her even more than the big guy.
She really hoped that the hero had caught him. Looking at the clock
Allyson flinched. She was going to be late for dinner now. And it
wasn't as if she had to report anything right? The hero had arrived and
taken care of things. That was how this worked right?
Allyson stood and started for the door, then paused looking carefully across the street. She could swear she saw someone moving in the shadows there. . .
No, it wasn't someone in the shadows, the shadows moved. And there was no wind to speak of today. . .
She sat back down and remembered the smile the shadow man had given her. Now she was worried. She knew two things right away that likely saved her. The first was that the shadow man was going to follow her until he could do something bad to her. The other was that if she went home he would find her there. And for a third slightly belated thought, it was after 5:00 now and the shadows would only get deeper.
Allyson pulled herself together telling herself that she could fall apart later like any girl, right now she needed to get away from the shadow man. She logged into the computer and started looking for the one person she knew who might be able to help her.
Patrick had had a fairly normal day. He'd gone to school, endured
the hazing for being a nerd, eaten a sack lunch, done his homework in
class, and headed over to his dad's work. His dad worked at a
combination junk yard/used car lot. Where one started and the other
left off was all too often a blurred line. His dad had been working
with his boss to try to sell a relatively good car to a man who would
likely end up paying too much for it. The main reason Patrick went to
the car yard everyday was that deep in the recesses, and behind several
apparently junked cars was his current project. He had a deal going
with the owner. He could store his projects out back and use the tools
from the shop if he cleaned up the parts he found and didn't need for
resale in the store. Both thought they were getting the better deal.
The owner felt he was because the boy was giving him almost new parts
for nothing. Patrick knew he was getting the better deal because he
didn't need the parts he turned in and kept the really nice stuff he
found for himself. Still there were no exceptionally good cars here and
his shopping list was extensive.
Patrick rounded the corner and pulled up the rusting hood that served as his garage door. This small workshop/garage was his pride and joy. Here he kept all the tools he had scrounged and built, his parts, some plans, and his project: A hover car. Thanks to some solar paneling he had scavenged a few months back the place now had power. He had spent his little pocket cash to acquire a wireless network card for the abacus computer the city provided. That meant he had internet in his workshop. Patrick turned on the lights and plugged his abacus into the custom built cradle. He then signed into his chat servers and called up his plans. Still so much work to do on his baby. There were only two seats and the electrical power ran out after a few miles of travel or a half an hour. Plus it was unpainted, half the instruments didn't work yet, and the air conditioning smelled like rotten fruit. Still, the heater worked and all the required lights lit when turned on. And thanks to some plans he found on line and a lot of thinking the fanjets were almost whisper quiet at slow speeds and far quieter than most air cars at cruising speeds. He crawled under the front of the car and started tracing the power feed from the batteries. He knew he should have used a better conductor, but without much money he could only use what he found. He muttered to himself as he noticed the cable's path. WK had been right. The power ran right beside the gyrocompass and the insulation was too thin to stop the power loss. That also explained why the thing had to be calibrated so far over.
An hour and a half later, and two interruptions to find parts for customers Patrick had re run the cable and changed the settings on the compass. He then noticed that he had a message (fortunately only a couple of minutes old) sitting in his forum.
Mists of Time: Please tell me you're there. I need some help.
Now this was unusual. Mists was pretty much his best friend these days. Harold had been, but since he went off and started hanging out with his punk brother the two had less and less in common. He had hoped to meet Mists when the car was running. So far he had been very secretive about where he lived and pretty much everything else about himself, but was one of the sharpest programmers that Patrick knew. The two had become fast friends despite knowing next to nothing about each other.
Orb's Scythe: what's up?
Christian ran up the dingy street trying to stay in the lengthening
shadows. Why hadn't he kept the hat down lower on his face? He knew by
now how people responded to his new appearance. He just hoped that no
one reported him.
Things had been different once. Christian used to be lieutenant Bradford, adjunct to the base commander. The post had been a fairly easy one. He hadn't known what was going on in the base, but then again it was research and development so he doubted he would have understood anyway. Everything had been going well. Two more months and he would be rotated out to some other post for the last year of his enlistment. Then he might just stay in. The army was comfortable and predictable. Still his biggest mistake had been taking the base commander his situation report in person instead of leaving it on the desk. He had walked into the RD section and stepped into the room where the scientists were testing a new radiation treatment for biological weapons. Just after he stepped in something went wrong and he was shoved aside as the technicians started running around trying to get whatever had happened under control.
The lieutenant decided that the best thing he could do would be to put the report on the commander's desk. Then he went back to his room as he was feeling ill. When he woke up in the middle of the night things had changed. He had grown ten inch long spikes all over his body. When he looked in the mirror he almost screamed. His eyebrows had fallen out, replaced with a line of spikes, and a thick boney ridge had grown down the middle of his forehead. His ears had also changed into small cups like those of the hedgehog they had been testing earlier.
His time for shock was over though when a private knocked on his door, then hurried in with an urgent message. When he saw what had happened to Christian he dropped the note and yelled, drawing his weapon. Christian panicked spun toward the window. Before he knew it he was spinning around very quickly. The private fired a single shot which missed due to the wind rushing around the room. Flinching Christian tensed, and several of the spikes flew from his body imbedding themselves in the walls breaking out the window. Seeing his chance Christian dove through it, still spinning and ran into the night.
The base commander had issued a retrieval order for him and he had been hunted ever since. Now that he had dared to come to a city sightings like that could get him in trouble, but he needed to eat, and figure out what he was going to do with his life. Century Station had seemed like a logical place to go. After all there were mutants and super heroes of all varieties here. He might just fit in. After the screams that visited him when he took off his disguise though he was beginning to doubt that he would ever fit in.
Christian shoved away from the wall he had been resting against and walked into the street. Unseen eyes followed him, sizing him up.
"Dad, can I go and hang out with a friend?" Patrick asked as he
handed over the day's parts to Mr. Rimo. Mr. Briely looked over to his
son. He'd always been rather lenient with him and had no reason to
regret it. Still he usually didn't go out to play with his friends. He
talked to them online. And never this close to dark. Then again, that
he was showing interest in playing with other kids was a good thing.
And it would get him away from Mr. Rimo who was exploiting him.
"Sure. Do you know when you'll be back"
Patrick blinked. Briely smiled to himself. He was sure the boy had expected to have to put up more of a fight.
"I don't know, we might get to talking. I'll be home early enough to get some sleep for school tomorrow." Patrick was grinning and started out the back door.
"Ok, take care of yourself," Briely said, finishing stocking the oil on the shelf.
"You know Jason, you really should keep a tighter reign on that boy. He could be getting himself in trouble. I mean honestly"
Jason Briely watched his son leave the store and then turned on his boss.
"Patrick is a good kid and can take care of himself. I'd thank you to leave rasing him to me"
Rimo smiled slightly, "Now Jason, I know you mean well, but after what happened to Erin, I'd think you would be more careful"
Patrick tensed. He had always know that Mr. Rimo had wanted his wife and she had never given into him. But to speak of her so after she was killed. . . One part of him wanted to wipe that smug look of his face and throttle him. But the main part turned and walked into the back, not wanting to jeopardize his job.
Mists of Time: I'll meet you at Bits and Bytes as soon as I can get there.
Patrick hurried back to his garage frowning in concentration. Mists wanted to meet him at one of the best known electronics shops in town. He knew Mists was better off than he was, most of the components he recommended Patrick could never afford. Still he certainly knew his stuff. He opened up the door and detached the power cables from the car. He hoped the thing worked. There had been no time to test the new distributor cable other than a brief on and off. He snagged the opener that he had built and slid into the drivers seat.
Patrick started the engine and thanked again that he had gone to the trouble of quieting the fans. He drove it foreword and pressed the button on the opener to close the door behind him. Another thing he was glad he had built. Staying as low as he could Patrick drove to the back of the yard and hopped over the fence. Now for the tricky part. Driving at the speed limit at ground level he turned on the headlights. He didn't have a license yet, much less a license to drive an air car. That meant not doing anything too outrageous and driving like it was a real car. The lack of a paint job would draw enough looks.
After several cars had passed him on the roads he relaxed some. Most people didn't give him more than a quick look before going back to their driving. Thank god for tunnel vision. Patrick parked in an alley a block away from the meeting place. No sense in parking the car in one of the most likely places for people to notice it. With all the people who built their own computers and other electronics that went in and out of there someone would notice the work in progress. Patrick locked the door and slid his coat on. He started walking over toward Bits and Bytes. This was definitely the better part of Midtown. Being close to Society Hill meant a lower crime rate and more money. Shivering slightly and stuffing his hands in his pockets he looked around. Mists had said he would be carrying a backpack and waiting out front. Most people around the shop were either walking by or going in and out. It was close to 6:00 now and people were headed home. As far as he could see there were only three people waiting in front of the shop.
The first was a man talking on his cell phone and fumbling for his keys. That obviously wasn't Mists, he had said he needed a ride. Even as he watched the man found his keys and walked off.
The second person standing there was an older man speaking with a child, perhaps his grandson? The boy was showing him something in a bag. That couldn't be Mists either.
He finally considered the last person. She was a girl about his age and she was wearing a backpack. Still, he wasn't sure she was Mists either. She was wearing expensive clothes and looked a little out of place. Still, if he thought about it Mists had never said he was a guy, Patrick had just kind of assumed it. Apparently Mists had never said a lot of things. Hoping he was right Patrick walked over to the girl that he would normally never have spoken to.
Allyson was nervous. It had taken her a little over half an hour to
walk all the way from the internet café to Bits and Bytes. Still, she
felt a little better now that she was away from her neighborhood.
Her mother had been a little surprised when she asked to stay out with some of her friends, but she supported the request hoping her daughter would become more of a socialite like her mother. Assuming that she would be staying in the neighborhood there was no time limit. In fact remembering her own childhood days Allyson's mother had said that if she wanted to spend the night all she had to do was call.
Shifting her weight Allyson was glad that she had worn a jacket today. It had been warm earlier but as the sun was setting it got colder and colder. Keeping a careful watch she had caught a few glimpses of the man she had dubbed Mr. Shadow tailing her. She hoped that all he planned to do was follow her.
Allyson looked at her watch again. Scythe had said that he needed to get his dad's ok before he left and that he would be brining a surprise. She really hoped that he would get there soon. The longer she stood there the more likely Mr. Shadow would decide to just come over and grab her. A boy walked up to the building. She had been examining every passer by that came up the street, but stopped after she realized she was drawing attention to herself. So she was completely surprised when he walked over to her.
"Are you Mists?" He asked.
Allyson looked over at him. She realized that she had never given her name out to Scythe and that perhaps she should have identified herself a little better. Looking him up and down she immediately noticed that he was unlike the boys she knew in school. His jeans were threadbare, his jacket had a couple of holes by the pockets and he was badly in need of a haircut. Add small layer of dirt and grease stained sleeves and he was obviously not the person she had imagined. Well, except for the grease stains. Those fit right in.
"Scythe?" Allyson asked carefully.
He stuck his hand out. "I'm Patrick"
Allyson carefully took his hand and gave it a shake. "Allyson." Not at all what she had expected.
Patrick let go of her hand quickly and looked around. "Good to meet you. What's up? You didn't say much online"
Allyson noticed as he dropped her hand and smiled uncertainly at him. "I saw something today I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have. And this guy turned into a shadow. He followed me and I don't want to go home." There that should cover all her bases.
Patrick looked around, "And here I just thought you finally wanted to meet. Is he around here"
Allyson's smile widened, "You know I was going to see you when you finished your car. And yes, although I'm not sure where he is right now. It's really hard to find a shadow"
Patrick nodded. "Ok, I might be able to loose him for you. Follow me"
She nodded and started after him, trying to keep an eye out for Mr. Shadow. This was hardly how she expected to meet her online friend, on the run from some criminal that could turn into shadows, at night on the other side of the hill.
They walked across the street and halfway up the next block before they turned into an alley. All Allyson's suspicions about people online rushed back at her thinking this would be a great place to trap her. The sun was almost down and the alley dark.
"You lead a nice chase girl, but I grow tired of it." Mr. Shadow stepped out from behind a dumpster. Allyson had forgotten one thing. The dark alley had many shadows.
Patrick jumped when he heard the voice. He had only half believed
that the man had followed her, and was downright skeptical that he
could turn into a shadow. Still here he was and he didn't look like
someone to mess with.
"What do you want? Leave me alone!" Allyson said.
Now Patrick believed that girls were more level headed than most boys his age. He knew that most of the stereotypes were wrong. Still this girl, who so far was everything but what he had expected seemed to be starting to panic.
The man started walking toward them. "Get lost kid, this doesn't concern you." His gaze swept over Patrick and dismissed him. The kind of treatment that bullies had given him his whole life. "As for you, you messed up a nice clean operation today. I thought I'd have a little fun"
Patrick heard a sharp breath from beside him. The man sounded downright nasty. If he hadn't been standing right in front of his car Patrick would have run. He hesitated. If they ran they'd never get to the car, but if they stayed things might get ugly.
Patrick's choice was taken away from him when the man grabbed Allyson's wrist and shoved him aside. Patrick fell against the brick wall at the side of the alley and stood up. Allyson was kicking at the man's shins as he grabbed her other wrist before it could slap him. Dragging himself to his feet Patrick grabbed the lid off of a garbage can beside him and swung it at the man's head.
"Arg!" the man grunted as he released Allyson. "You punk! I would have let you go, but now that you've really gone and pissed me off I'm going to have some fun with you too." He gestured and the shadows cast by the streetlights coming on seemed to shift and move. Then they jumped off the wall and grabbed him. "What the?" Patrick struggled against the shadows but they held him tightly. A quick squeeze on his hand and the lid fell to the ground. Then he was lifted and thrown down the alley.
"Now where were we?" The man smiled evilly and turned back to Allyson.
Allyson winced as she watched Patrick fly down the alley. That had
to hurt. Now that he had turned back to her she was in serious trouble.
She backed up against the wall panicking. A few years of gymnastics
that her mother had insisted on didn't give her any chance against a
man like this. "I think we can have a little fun now." Shadows wrapped
themselves around her wrists and ankles and tied them to the wall. "I
know you were just in this position a little while ago, but I think
you'll have a harder time getting away from me. Besides, you caused me
to loose some time and effort. It's only fair that you feel a bit of
that." Mr. Shadow walked up to her and grabbed her face in one hand,
turning her head slightly.
The air around them cooled off significantly and a slight mist started to form. Just then a bright light shown down the alley causing the shadows to disappear. The mist dissolved to show Patrick running right at them.
Before the man could react he slammed into him, knocking him aside. Allyson stepped away from the wall and Patrick ran back toward the light, grabbing her hand.
"Quick, over here"
Allyson followed, pulled along until she could see what was causing the light. There sat a car. It looked like a junker, bare metal and all. Patrick slid into the driver's seat. "Get in, hurry." He started it up and the soft hum of fans was the only sound.
Allyson opened the passenger door and got in. The seat was comfortable, if a little ripped in places. As soon as she closed the door she saw Mr. Shadow running at them, his gun drawn. "Look out"
Patrick floored the accelerator and the car lifted straight up. Allyson was pressed into her seat. When they stabilized she looked down.
"How high are we?" The buildings looked much smaller than she expected.
"I have no idea. I haven't gotten the altimeter to work yet." Patrick said as he started driving and flying down to a lower altitude. Allyson looked over at him. There was blood trickling from his lip and a look of concentration on his face as he tried to make the car do what he wanted. If she looked she could see his responses matching what she thought her program would do. Patrick flipped the lights off and dropped to street level. The road was deserted and definitely in a poorer part of town. In the excitement she had lost track of where they were. Driving like this she almost forgot they were in an air car. A sharp reminder was when the car hopped up nine feet to go over a fence.
Patrick pressed a button what she only guessed was a garage opener. In front of them a pile of car parts opened up and they drove in. The door closed behind them.
The car shut off and Patrick opened the door. He got out and hit a switch. Allyson looked around. The walls were made of sheet metal off of cars and there were tools everywhere. An ITS abacus laptop sat in some sort of cradle on the counter. All in all it seemed to be a garage. Then she looked over at Patrick.
He was limping slightly and dabbing at his lip with a rag as he plugged a cable into the car. She immediately felt bad. Patrick had most likely saved her life and she was judging him on how much money he had. Just like her mother would do. She got out of the car and walked over to him. "Here let me." She took the cloth from him and started dabbing his lip, being able to see the cut more easily.
Patrick gave up the rag and let her clean his lip. Truth be told he
didn't know what to do. This was entirely outside his experience.
Still, it wasn't so bad –
"Ouch!" The pressing against his lip sent a shock of pain into his jaw. "Sorry!" Allyson stepped back quickly with a look of apology on her face. Patrick pressed his hand against the cut and it came away bloody, but not as bad as it had been. "It's ok. It's not bleeding badly"
Allyson stood there with the rag in one hand, looking very out of place. An awkward silence filled the garage, neither knowing what to say.
"So. . . This is your project." Allyson looked the car over in the light of the garage.
"Yeah, that's what I've been working on. It doesn't look like much, and I still have a lot of work to do, but it runs." Patrick watched her look over the car nervously, "I had kinda hoped that I would have had time to at least paint it before you saw it"
Allyson waved it off, "I know it's still being built. Did you ever get that onboard computer in here?" Her head was stuck in the window looking over the dashboard.
Patrick grinned and opened the driver's side door. "I have most of it, but I couldn't figure a good way to get a readout in. The dash is already crowded"
Allyson thought about that, then gave her opinion. The two continued to talk shop with ever growing enthusiasm.