|Hello There, Ugly
||[Jan. 18th, 2006|12:54 am]
One great thing about physical violence - it catches the attention wonderfully. I was lost in my head as I walked down the alleys. Sara's gift had held my attention since I'd left the hospital. I held my hand to my shirt and felt it through the fabric. It would tell me were to go, but I didn't know how, and I definitely didn't want to miss any cues. I was more or less oblivious to the outside world.
That was, right up until I heard a woman's cry through gritted teeth and the sound of fist on flesh. I turned to see a man shrug a girl aside and continue at what he was doing, which was punching a prone man in the face. I stared for a good amount of time until something clicked upstairs. Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be the law, aren't I?
"Hey...Hey! Get off him!"
The Keeper looked up, and noticed there was a man running in his direction who didn't seemed pleased with the general practice of beating men to death on the street. This didn't impress him much.
"Do you know what this is?" His expression communicated dire results for anyone who stated an obvious beating. "This is Gayue business. Which means it's not your business. So go to Hell."
I noticed the family crest he wore and had to fight a reflexive curling of the lip. I'd been taught to hate those guys since I was six. I had to admire one thing about Benjamin: he'd been able to see through that. My little brother never failed to impress me.
"You let me worry about what's my business. Just step away from the man."
Something came over his look. He stood up, although not moving away from the prone man. I watched to see if he would ready for a kick. His legs did not move, but his expression moved from anger to a deeper suspicion and hatred. I figured it out in a flash: he'd recognized the family features.
"You're looking awfully Zagy. A little too Zagy for my tastes." There was the smell of ghosts about him. The crest meant he was a Keeper; and I figured his Ancestors were urging him on towards the kill. I was really not having a good day with Keepers.
"Don't concern yourself with that." I waved my hand and grimaced. At least he was stepping away from the man and the young woman, who looked oddly familiar. "I was...excommunicated."
He laughed, an ugly sound. "What scum would even the Zagys kick out? Gotta wonder." And now he started to advance. It was a show of intimidation, and I could see how he was drawing on his ancestors to call up fear and try to force it into my head, like some demonic package. It was a sad attempt; if you know the trick you're immune. "Do you know, little Zagy, how big Gayue is in this dome?"
At this point my patience sizzled and evaporated. If this idiot wanted to play with fire, I could show him my torch collection. "Not that big. Not as big as Atrox, and not so big that they'll let you beat a man's head in on their territory. But that doesn't matter, because no one's as big as the Machines," at this point, I drew my jacket aside and his eyes widened at what it revealed, "and I'm with the Machines."
In full view was the polyetherene sheath. Only Machines can put together the material, and it's the only thing we know of that can stop softblades. The handle of mine protruded from the sheath, its bent slightly in the direction of the Gayue thug, as if wagging a finger at him while telling him how deep in trouble he was. If you had a softblade, you were OIS. If you weren't, then you'd stolen one from an OIS worker, and were a dead man. The Machines gave us all little plastic identity cards, but I'd never bothered to flash mine; not enough impact. You couldn't cut a man in half with an identity card.
At this point he smarted up, began to calculate. This was good. I'd been having a poor day and was all too willing to share it. "You don't need to worry about this," he offered, scanning and cautious. Now he was looking for wriggle room. "Just let me leave with her. This isn't a Machine problem."
I remembered that the other two; namely, the young woman. She was a safe distance away, just out of his reach. On one hand, she wanted to get near the prone guy; on the other, she didn't want to get too close to the Gayue enforcer. It was the general demeanour of the puppy trying to steal a bone from between the paws of a much older and grouchier relative.
And then suddenly I recognized who she was.
I nearly fell over. The questions nearly bowled me over, and crushed me under the weight of seven years; of worry and concern pushed aside by work and drink. Where did they go? How did they hide? What names did they assume? Where was Benjamin now? And why wasn't he with her now, while her family's Keepers were trying to drag her back? The man on the floor wasn't my little brother, not even disguised, and so the connotations of that last question had me gritting my teeth until my jaw ached.
I remembered the Gayue was watching me. He was analysing, wondering why I'd reacted so to her sight. That told me a lot; they'd never suspected that one of the Zagys would have aided her and her lover in the tryst, and been thrown out and spat upon for his loyalty to his brother.
I did not ask the questions. What I did was pull myself upright and turn to a professional tone. "You are under arrest for charges of assault, battery, and attempted kidnapping. If you cooperate you may be turned over to Organic law enforcement instead of - " was as far as I got before he rushed me.