Yesterdays Sins " Kevin's Story "
My name is Kevin Ethan Levin, and I'll kick your butt if you laugh at that. I've made a few bad calls in my life but the past few years I've been turning things around, and hanging around with what could be called a batter class of people. I like to think I'm making better choices in life then I used to. 'Cept for this one night I was up late working out some aggression on my heave bag. Hitting things I've learned is more acceptable then people in most circles when I get a call I'd been waiting on.
" Argit you little weasel you got my jet parts? "
Argit is an OK guy I guess, but you never trust him with a dollar.
" Why I need the parts is none of your business Argit. I paid you in advance and I'm getting my moneys worth one way or the other bro. Good I'm glad we can see eye to eye. Sure I can pick em up tomorrow at the docs, assuming there's all that waiting for me. Sure buddy I'll take you at your word, seeing as I know you can't get off world without me knowing about it. "
Argit talks me into picking up my stuff and I know that means their will be issues with a middle man, and a few extra bucks from my wallet. This kind of thing you work into your budget when you deal with the man. Still cheaper then ebay though.
I get up early the next morning same as ever. My Mom worries I don't sleep, but I figure I ain't got more then 6 hours to waste in a given day doing nothing. To many bad dreams.
So anyway grab a shower, leave a pot of java on for Mom when she get's up in about an hour, and remember to take out the trash before I take off.
The suns coming up as I hit the highway and head out into the desert. I love this place nothing but wide open spaces, and a lot of empty highway to drive. I'm doing past 90 when the radar detector lets me know some state trooper is nearby, and I kick in the cloaking device. I wish I could get a look at this dips face as he hears me blast by and he doesn't see nothing!
My badge starts to beep in the cup holder, and I kick in the auto pilot, because people that talk and drive piss me off. It's the one guy I know that's up this early.
" Max whats up, Ben into some trouble earlier then normal? "
" No it's actually his first day back to school since that mess with Kai. Theirs a blip on the satellite grid in the desert out by Los Solada. I tasked one of the satellites to keep an eye on the place until I get time to go over the place and make sure all that Highbreed tech is really gone. "
Now I like Max and all he's technically my boss, even if I'm not getting paid for plumber gig, and he's my girlfriends grandfather. Thing is I've kind of hit the leftovers of our local Highbreed base a few times, and I've gotten one or two decent paydays out of it, these things I maybe feel bad about not mentioning.
" I'll take a look I'm in the area annoying the local cops. "
" Don't go to fast Kevin, air bags don't do much good if you're boosting your engine with liquid oxygen. "
This is why I like the old guy, you can smell the difference in the exhaust when you use liquid 02 as a booster.
" I'll behave for the most part I promise. Kevin out. "
I pull into the same base he was sending me to check out to pickup my parts and hope Argit hasn't run up my bill more then I thought. I set my car alarm to lets call it "business mode" a little setting I use when I'm not parked in the suburbs. I'll spare you the details and just say it involves a .50 cal machine gun that was used by a certain Governor of California in some old action movie. It's a prop loaded with blanks I swear.
Argit told me to meet the middleman by whats left of the warp gate. That much got trashed after it was shut down, and I couldn't get a working circuit out of it. General curtsey in deals like this is the buyer waits in the open for a guy with the goods, who if he's anything like me is around watching, to show them selves. Just in case I usually lean on my car so I can armor up fast if I need it, but I just waxed that thing, and I'm still used to being powered up all the time after my last round of Omnitrix feedback.
I don't hear nothing as someone moved up behind me. Maybe I'm not as good as I think I am or maybe having ears made of meat after so long makes my hearing worse, but when I finally feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up and spin around I see Mangle the single ugliest Plumber on the Null Void beat. Word is he pissed someone off a half century ago, and is stuck on a beat most Plumbers only rotate through once or twice in a career. Someone once told me the bastard refuses to get a transfer because he likes it there, and anyone crazy enough to like the void should never leave. My eyes clamp shut, and I cross my arms over my face like I did when I was 12 and about to take a beating.
I get the biggest surprise of my life as I hear a voice I never thought I'd hear again.
" Kevin? "
Three and a half years ago I was a mutated punk trying to muscle my way around the edges of the Null Void. That's where everyone that doesn't want to be a part of the system can be alone with only each other and the Null guardians. I figured if I had to be stuck there at least I'd be stuck where I could hit who and what I wanted, and yes I was still a little shit back then that enjoyed hitting things that couldn't hit back. Then two of my arms fell off, and I was in deep deep trouble.
" Whats the matter tough guy! Maybe not so bad without those claws hu? "
Mangle raised his shock stick and I crossed my crystalline over what used to be my flaming arm, and braced myself for another jolt. Mangle jabbed me under my right arm where one of the Wildmutt arm-things used to be and the pain shot through me.
" YAAAA! I'll get you you pig! "
" Yea punk I'm sure you will like how you grabbed that batch of red rice from an old woman, You'll do me real fair like that. Creeps like you stay out here on the edge where you don't have to register, and there's no way you'll ever get out legal like. All so you get to be every bit the barbarian you where on the outside. Leave the rice farmers alone punk, it's Null guardian birthing season, and the pups don't know how to hold back. Just a friendly warning. "
He jabbed me again, and I backed out from the pain. That was the worst part of it sleeping was always bad on the edge of the void. I woke up a while later and looked down at myself. I'd gotten smaller . . again. Every time I sleep or get knocked cold I turned back just a bit more as whatever the watch did me was waring off, and for once that was a scary thought. No power outlets out here for me to get a charge off of, and even if I did I wasn't as strong back then.
" Mangle you pig I will get my hands on you ! "
Then I hear a voice like someone whispering in my ear.
" There are rules if you ask him for a ride to a security station he has to help you. "
" Who's saying that! Show yourself! "
Voices from no place where new, and I popped out a few crystal shards I direction I admit was guess. I got lucky.
" Aaaa no please! Listen I . . "
I start to move around the area I shot nice and slow like because the speed takes a lot more out of me then it used to. All I see is a field of green crystal, and one clear one.
" Please I can help you don't! "
I pick the crystal up and look at it with my big Galvan eyeball.
" What the heck are you? "
I open my eyes and Mangle flashes colors and turns into the only friend I ever had in the void. Light folded and bent as easy as clay turns into shoulder length dark hair, big brown eyes, two tiny horns and a pair of legs that go on forever. I know this person can't be here, not ever. I got in for a hug anyway.
" Craft? What the hell are you doing here you where in for like 100 years or something! "
" I made a deal for parole a while back. "
The smell of bad tuna and BO hits my nose like a punch and I back off quicker then is polite.
" Gaaa you still smell like Mangle! "
" HAHAHAH! Hard light done right honey. "
Craft flashes again and I can smell whatever got used to make that stink burn off.
" Their better? "
I get my head together, and start asking questions.
" Then the face you used before yea. Now what the hell do you for parole? "
I get a first hand reminder that that face doesn't make any involuntary movements, perfect for poker.
" Sorry Kevin that's my business. What did you used to say loose lips link ships? I don't want anyone knowing what I did to get out, not even you. "
I'm already making plans in my head to grab a netbook so I can hook my badge up to it and check the exstranet. Normally I just use Gwen's old laptop but no not for this one.
" Fair enough, the name Argit ring a bell? "
She smiles a to perfect smile.
" I take it I've got your engine parts? Still looking to go fast I see. "
The deal goes down by the numbers, and neither of us try to haggle. It's kind of refreshing not having to skirt around " work " like I do with the Tennysons. Thing is I should cut out get some info, and make sure I'm not dealing with an escapee. Hanging around with someone like that will get my ass back in the void so hard not even Ben getting Azmeth involved will save me.
" So Craft I'm hungry, want to hit a dinner?"
" I haven't watched you do that disgusting eating thing in a awhile I'm in. "
Making dinner in the Null void is a primitive thing, and by that I mean I used some white rocks that I might have been somethings droppings combined with my flammable Stinkfly spit, and a increasingly painful to make spark from my Pyronite arm. The crystal bowl I made myself heats the water for the red rice well enough.
" That's sooooo nice Kevin. "
" You ain't getting any you fancy marble. "
" No the fire it's bright. It's not the starlight I need but so much better then anything else out here. That red sky just doesn't do it. "
I gulp down the entire bowl Ripjaws style and decide to make something that passes for dinner conversation.
" What the heck eats starlight? "
" A Photo-sapien, we are born in orbit of star, and most of us are in a hive mind. Me I left all that. "
" I didn't ask for your life story. We got an arrangement, you watch out while I sleep, and I don't toss you. "
I look at the tiny marble thing for a few minutes before it talks again.
" You don't know what you are do you? Most Osmosian's are afraid mutating, you are afraid of not. "
It was clear I was turning back and from the time I gave step-daddy Pete a little electric jolt for forgetting the step part of that title I haven't have anyone that could give me info. Problem is I was a paranoid little bastard.
" What do you know about me? Talk or else! "
My night light was getting braver.
" How long kid, now long and what like of stuff have to been absorbing? Are you even thinking straight anymore? "
For the first time in a long time I just started talking.
" Electricity was fine! It wasn't until I touched that watch that this happened to me! It was that Ben kid it was his fault not mine! All I was doing was trying to get by after my Mom kicked me out ! My STEP father shouldn't have tried to put his hands on me he's got no right to smack me around! "
I'll admit to crying just a bit that night, in my defense I was learning a lot about life. Not being a mutant, maybe just maybe not really being responsible for some things, it was an intense evening.
I'm off my game and I know it. I just . . .didn't care. Argit stays in my cellphone for one reason he's a friend even if he's a back stabber and Gwen tells me he makes her skin crawl. This is the same and as the sun goes down and we pull my car into the garage I realize in the void Craft COULDN'T stab me in the back.
" Seeing as you've been doing hard light demon barbie all day I have to ask. How the hell are you this powered up on a planet Craft? "
" I parked the ship in orbit and ate before I landed, and woo nice sun you have up there. Believe it or not during the day plenty is just around for me to work with. Looking at that moon of yours I'm guessing I wouldn't go hungry most nights either. The Null Void is not really as easy on my kind as some others. Not that's easy for anyone. "
I'm a bit pissed the sun gets mentioned as tasty as it reminds me of Dad, however the distraction I get is not the kind I was looking for.
" Kevin we have been trying to call you all day . . . who's your friend ? "
Let me take a minute to say I haven't so much has said grace at dinner since I was 10, but I thanked God that was JUST BEN. Before I came along those two where join at the hip for the longest time.
" Tennyson, shouldn't you be someplace else? "
" Oh come on you've been denied my charming influence for weeks I was worried you'd run off and join the Legion of Doom or something "
I poke the boy a bit more then I should after that mess with Kai Green, and he just rolls with it.
" How's rehab treating you? "
" Oh fine, nothing really made it into my system. Say pretty lady have you noticed you are just way to hot for Kevin here? "
Craft loves playing with us " biological's ", and I'm sure thinks its funny to screw with me by hanging off of Ben like the fangirls he wishes he had.
" He was a bit to young last time I saw him, so I came back to see if he was ready for rutting season. That is what you evolved monkey's do right? "
I watch Ben pull in what he thinks is a girlfriend of mine trying to make me jealous, instead I want to hurl.
" No, but for you I'll make an exception. "
" That's not a woman Ben! "
He freezes like his Mom caught him with porn, and whispers. Craft dangles hard light boobies in his face. I can't help but smile.
" Umm What do you mean by that Kevin. "
Craft just blurts out before I get a chance to talk.
" I'm not one or the other couldn't afford the surgery to have my fleshy organic bits rearranged. "
Ben turns green as his coat, and pulls back. Me and Craft just start laughing.
" HAHAHA I think you broke him you hard light freak! "
" HAHAHA get that on tape and I'm rich. "
Ben gets his shit together.
" Wait a minute hard light freak? "
" I am Craft Dawnchild exile of the great Novian hive mind, and disreputable acquaintance Kevin over here. "
Ben just kind of stands there with his mouth open.
" Ben Dawn children are living crystals about the size of a half dollar coin the old silver ones. They don't even have boys and girls just a collective brain that eats the defective. This here is a rare escapee, so no matter what it looks like stop getting friendly or I'll tell Julie your humping animated objects. "
Ben takes it well.
" Not a transvestite I understand. Ben Tennyson "
" Savior of all we hold dear, and master of the Omnitrix I have heard of you. "
Ben now keeping his distance.
" Glad to meet you. "
I look at the alien reflection in the polished door of Mangles security station. I'm purple still but otherwise back to normal, and scared to hell.
" I don't like this Craft. "
The jewel on a string around my neck pulses a bit as it answers me.
" Remember the rules, he's a Plumber but the Null guardians don't care if he steps to far out of line they won't see a difference. You have a file if you where put in here legally, and that means you have a length of sentence. If not you can plead unjust imprisonment, or talk to an advocate about the rights of uninitiated sentients. "
I've been wondering about my " friend " for a while, and seeing how I expect Mangle to off me anyway I figure why not ask.
" How the hell do you know all this stuff ? "
The door opened and I see Mangles smiling ugly mug as I hear Craft whisper.
" I was a Plumber. "
The ugly bastard knows it's me even thought I look different.
" Finally coming in from the cold hu kid? "
" Listen Mangle I got no idea about this place, but some of the others out there tell me you are just a cop, and I might have rights that could get me out of here or at least someplace better then on rock eating red rice. "
He steps aside inviting me in.
" Come on in. Theirs a shower down the hall on your left use it and I'll get you something better to wear. Behave and I might feed ya."
I spend the next half hour scrubbing myself in more water then I've seen since I got here. After that I learn that Ben's Grandfather was Plumber technically retired, but semi active because Earths a backwater not worth sending replacements to unless someones trying to screw with it. He did file a report for " emergency imprisonment of an unprocessed assailant ", and me hanging around with Vilgax actually works for me when he gets my age. Seems no one that knows a thing about him will work for him, making me a pawn. Taking Slix Vigma's ship, and killing that Technorg guy doing it is the worst thing they've got on me. After about an hour of questions Mangle spits out something surprising.
" Year and a half, if you behave. If a judge on Coda Coda signs off on it that is. In the mean time I can get you a bunk in a halfway house and you can look for work. You are one lucky backwater half breed. Max Tennyson has some pull, and he's backing you. "
I hold back no snippy retort, I just try to be polite. And by try remember I a feral street kid at this point.
" So long as whatever you get me into teaches be about all this alien crap. I'm tired of screaming what the hell is that all day everyday. "
Mangle actually laughs.
" Hahaha Repo work always needs people, cuz it makes you real unpopular. "
I spend all night thinking about Craft, and how hard it is for ex-Plumbers to get parole. I get up around 4 giving up on sleep is better sometimes then trying to force it. I remember to set the time on the coffee machine for Mom before I take off for the desert. Things are not adding up, Craft was in for a long time, and no one gives ex plumbers a break. Argit didn't screw me over on the parts that means Craft covered the difference for old times sake or Argit was honest for once. At that thought I step on the gas and kick in ever booster I've got.
I grab my badge, and I'm sure wake up Max. He looks worried when he picks up.
" K-Kevin you ok boy? "
" Max what are the odds of an Ex-plumber in for hawking defective munitions from a major ammo factory getting parole. "
The old man shakes his head getting the cobwebs out.
" What are you talking about? "
" Someone I knew in the void, a DawnChild. Didn't all those people your Plumbers helpers voided by mistake get let go a few months back? If that was done quick and sloppy someone might have slipped out with them. "
He sounded like this head was clearer now.
" Kevin listen if your right you need a containment net to catch a Photo-sapien. I've got one in storage in orbit we can pick it up and. . "
" Max she knows me, and she knows Ben we don't have the time. Just run the background check, if she got out somehow I'll back off if not I've got something that will work not pretty but it'll get the job done. "
I get to the edge of the old base and come to think of it don't bother to shut my badge off. I just leave it running after I park the car and get out. I hit the trunk and grab the titanium bat Gwen gave me, and armor up my chest under my shirt. If this isn't bad I'm just going to tell the damn nightlight to run just to be sure. If it is . . .oh I'm going to have to bust my friend . . why couldn't this be Argit, I could bust him and feel good about it.
If this is just me being paranoid I swear I'll get a GED and a job at a burger joint, cuz this alien crap will have finally gotten too much.
I walk around the place for 5 minutes until I remember where the power station was, and that I was planning on renting a truck to loot it in march. A lot of standardized testing in March Gwen and Ben will be distracted.
The generator was running and followed the cables to a rare Niroian shuttle. The only race to hit level 4 tech without force fields. They didn't need it they came from a high gravity deep water world and you build your ships durable in those conditions. I wonder if Ben could dent this hull.
" Well your a head of schdule. "
I don't even turn around.
" Whats with the ship Craft? "
" I got it from a scrap yard life support is totally busted but hell if that matters to me. In fact gives me more power to toss around. Want to go on a salvage trip Kevin? "
I turn around real slow, and I smell perfume on the wind. Craft is lying to me, and willing to push my buttons. I think of Craft as a girl for the first time I can remember as SHE puts her arms around me, and I make up my mind before she talks.
" Vilgax ship even in tiny little bits is worth more on the black market then some ships brand new. Want to get rich Kevin? "
The name "Vilgax" just makes me pissed off I was right, but I owe this girl.
" Yea it's worth a lot because it's made of crap on the Galvan black list, and can blow a planet out of orbit all on it's own. You've got to know what this will do to you if you get caught? Screw the void they will shatter your ass or worse deport you home to get made into a live snack. "
She smiles and its a pretty smile.
" You know why I left home ? I wanted to have things and not be another drone. I was willing to die that day Kevin, and I'll die before I go back. Same as when I slipped out of the void. "
I've heard enough and I move the titanium from my chest to my left hand, just in case it gets burned off, I need my right hand for all my favorite things. I stick my hand into Craft's chest, and guess right that to be soft and cuddly like you need to not be invulnerable. I get my hand on what really is Craft, and yank it out. She screams like a daemon, and I almost miss the galvanic control ring wrapped around her real form.
" AAAAAAAAAAA! "
I put the gem down really slowly, and walk back to my car, my hand smoking as I go. I'm throwing it all away with what I'm about to do, but I don't care. Gwen will get a better guy, and Ben will be the big hero driving a used 84 Malibu.
I get to the car, and Magister Prior Ghilhil is waiting for me.
" Well son I guess you figured it out. Congratulations, things being what they are a lot of people where asking questions about you, and now I can tell them for sure. . . "
I rip the drivers side door off my car and smack the bastard with it HARD. He growns a bit, and I have time to grab my badge from the cup holder, and toss it on his chest before he sits up.
" You little punk! "
" Screw you! I fought the Highbreed, and got in Vilgax face trying to be one of the good guys. You got no right. "
I dream of the void, and Craft asking me I want "her" I guess to look like if we are going to hanging around each other. I don't say way but I truth is Craft looks the way "she" looks around me because I wanted someone to hold my hand on the way to hell. I hope the frog bastard doesn't go back on his word and she really does get parole.
I wake up on Lonesome Mesa where I parked the night before, and slept under the stars. Ben's looking down at me, and im as happy as you would be see his ugly mug first thing in the morning.
" Dude you caused an interplanetary incident. "
" He tired to play me, screw um. Take a walk Ben really nothing you can do. "
He smiles and tries to cheer me up.
" I brought your door, they where going to impound it as a weapon, but yea. "
That's Ben TRYING.
" Tennyson he screwed with my head, I don't care what happens next OK. Just keep Gwen busy while I go home and tell my Mom, I don't want to. . .you know. . "
" Can't she's parked in her room watching you that's how I found you. By the way she's not pissed she is in fact planning something stupid at this moment. I can tell because she's not here lecturing you. "
I take a deep breath and ask a question I already know the answer to.
" Extranet has a warrant with my name on it doesn't it? "
" Sort of, Grandpa called his . . .friend Xylene. She's a lawyer and a Plumber, and some how has an in with Azmeth. I asked Grandpa Max and he said girls with 12 lobed brains are good with multitasking. You are not getting thrown under the buss by team Tennyson Kevin. None of us knew what was going on I swear. "
A month later me and the Tennyson's are on Coda Coda for a formal review. My Mom cried before we left, and I feel like beating the bastard again just for that. Gwen spent like two and half hours talking to Craft in the lobby and maybe the void would be better the ride home.
We look like the people from a tiny island going to the big city to demand justice from the evil city dwellers. I see Argit taking bets on how this will turn out, and he offered me half if I take a shot a the judge. I delete him from my cell phone while I'm supposed to be paying attention in court.
In the end Ghilhil is put on probation for six months and will have to kiss some frog ass for another promotion. I get five minutes with Craft before she's ( that still sounds weird calling Craft SHE ) put back in the void. This time with a full solar charge, and a promise of parole in 50 years. Something that makes her way happier then I thought it would.
Oh and I got my badge back, so for once I guess I played by the rules and came out on top.