NINER: Voided Warranty
rating: +7+x

Three Portlands never was known for attracting boring clients. Beings from all walks of life bustled through the streets, shops built into the wall advertising their wares with everything from flaming wooden signs to miniature laser shows. A man could spend his life here and never grow bored, and many chose to do just that. However, despite the fact that Niner didn't actually have a life to waste, he had previous engagements. The nearly 2 meter-tall android moved smoothly through the crowd, his mass cutting through it like a knife through butter.

Niner greatly enjoyed his occasional assignment to Three Portlands. He found his modifications drew no excess attention in a city crawling with the weird and wonderful. The same modifications that drew him negative attention from the Anderson Robotics Warranty Enforcement Squad were nothing special here. What was a M556 Light Support Weapon arm here or a built-in parachute there? Not to mention his cosmetic upgrades. He was probably the only Anderson Robotics Peregrine Model with leopard printed body armor, now that he thought about it.

Get moving, Niner. Rendezvous is in 3 minutes.

The message crackled through to his auditory sensors. "Yessir," he responded, and resumed his brisk pace. A towering ginger man in a red tuxedo hawked a set of charms at him, promising to save the soul he didn't have. Niner brusquely shoved past him.


The tuxedoed man stared after the quickly disappearing robot. He lifted a hand up and spoke into his collar, "The ball is rolling. I repeat, the ball is rolling. Over."


A set of directions floated into his view and he quickly made a turn into a secluded alley. Dirty imposing walls on all sides, like a castle of grime. He continued his walk into the labyrinthine side streets and alleys.

"You have arrived at your destination!," squeaked the cheery navigation system. He stood in front of a small fabric shop. TERGLICIO'S TERRIFICK FABRICKS screamed the sign hanging above the door. He pushed open the darkened glass door and stepped in.

Inside was a dimly lit chamber stacked wall to wall with bolts of fabric and shag carpet across the floor. A small desk sat at the end of the room, covered with various scrolls and a group of steel knick-knacks. It's seat was occupied by a diminutive bald man wearing a questionably effective set of monk's robes. His eyes were shut, and his breathing was imperceptible. Niner had a moment of worry. What if he had died? Humans almost never recovered from death!

Before he could entertain this theory, the monk called out from his fort of paper. "What is that you desire, you…facsimile?", disdain dripping from his diction. Niner strode over on aluminum legs, choosing to ignore the slur.

"Remember the code." crackled his earpiece.

Niner and the strange monk stared at each other, though only one of them had actual eyes. "You're an icecube of sun in a glassful of moon," Niner said.

The monk narrowed his eyes. "Who sent you?"

"Doesn't matter to you, all you need is to get rid of the goods." Niner shot back. The monk nodded and rose from his seat, gesturing toward a back door. Niner briskly walked toward it.

Had he waited three more seconds, he would have stopped the monk from telekinetically lifting the steel parts from his desk and joining them together to form two Mark-3 Firedawn Anti-Thaumuturgy Pistols and stuff them into his flowing robes.

The monk quickly breezed through the door and caught up to Niner.

"Goods are in a truck in the loading bay." The pair strode along a concrete hallway leading to a steel door emblazoned "LOADING BAY". Niner shoved past the not-a-monk and opened the door.

Immediately, his sensors began processing information.

Hovertruck on the far side of of the alley.

Fourteen people gathered in a semicircle around the door.

Two on an adjacent roof.

Ten UIU badges, eight Anderson Robotics Warranty Enforcement Squad vests.

Eighteen guns pointed at him.

"Put your hands on yo-"

He moved before the words left the humans mouth. He crossed the space between him and the end of the semicircle in a single leap, and tackled a UIU agent before throwing him at his partner. The team responded just as quickly, training their sights on him before letting loose a volley of bullets.

They hit air, he was already moving. Bullets trailing him, he ran along the wall while his modified arm charged up. He threw himself behind an arrangement of steel crates, mentally transmitting a message to the drop point.

AMBUSH, UIU AND ARWES AGENTS

His arm was ready. He rose up and braced himself as his hand popped off on hinges and the barrel of his M556 Light Support Weapon extended. He aimed at the spread of agents firing on him and started shooting.

A UIU agent took a burst to the chest and dropped, slamming into the agent behind him, who now had a similarly shaped hole in his chest. He dropped back down behind the crates as two red dots began swaying on the concrete behind him.

He rose up, aimed in the general direction of the closest sniper, and released. A scream of pain confirmed his hit. He took the opportunity to release a moving burst that took down 3 more agents. He dropped down again. The remaining 13 agents were getting closer, and the crates were not holding up well.

He braced himself and removed a small cylinder embedded in his metal torso. He gripped the small object in his arm, and readied his weapon. In one smooth movement, he rose up, overhanding the cylinder at the mass of agents and releasing burst after burst at the direction of the remaining sniper.

At the absolute last second, an agent realized what it was, and bellowed at the top of his lung, "GRENADE!".

An explosion rocked the alley and arose a cloud of dust, obscuring Niner's vision. He waved his arms in front of himself, clearing his line of sight. The dust settled, revealing an alleyway that looked like a massacre.

Which, in a way, it was.

Bodies lay strewn across the concrete, and Niner rose from his cover. He was mostly alright, save for a few rips and tears in his armor. He dived across the alley to the back of the hover tank and lifted up the steel cargo door.

He sighed in relief. The goods were here, this hadn't been for nothing. Bolts of fabrics illegal across Three Portlands lay neatly stacked in the truck. Undead spider silk, Demon-infused pure cotton, Eternally Flaming Chiffon™ by Morc, and several that he did not recognize. The contents of this truck were likely worth several million dollars on the open market.

They were worth even more on the black market.

Niner stepped back and shut the door. He made it halfway to the driver's side door when a shot rang out and caught him directly in his gun arm. He slammed against the metal back of the hovertruck and slid to the ground, disoriented. That shouldn't be possible. He looked up to see the not-a-monk walking over, two comically oversized pistols floating in the air in front of him, trained on the android lying on the floor.

"Under authority of the Unusual Incidents Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you are under arrest!"

Niner's arm was already knitting itself closed. He had to leave. Now. An idea struck him, and with a flick of his wrist, he snapped off the arm hanging on hinges from the barrel of his gun. The severed hand flopped around before receiving a signal from Niner, and like a rabbit, it shot off toward a dead body and clung to its legs, shaking up and down, wrenching an object out of the corpse's pocket.

The not-a-monk was still making his ambling way over to him, his energy drained from the mental strength behind the magic bullet.

With a final pull, the hand fell back, clutching its quarry. It dragged the object back to the rest of Niner and pressed it into his other palm before running off and plugging itself back into its socket.

Both arms now somewhat functional, Niner rose up, fluidly throwing the 8 inch knife across the alley and directly into the agent's stomach. He screamed in agony before collapsing to the floor. Niner hobbled over and pulled himself into the driver's seat. He pointed his index finger squarely at the center of the ignition and released, sending a stream of nanites into the truck. The hovertruck shuddered and rose up with a screech.

"How hard could this possibly be?", he asked himself.


"So yeah, that's how I lost my scholarship." The young man leaned back in his chair, absorbed in his phone call. "How's your day been so far?"

"Mocha Latte, 16 shots of faith!"

"Oh, that's mine!" he called, bounding up to collect his order. He had pulled out his wand to pay when the brick wall of the shop exploded.

A hovertruck smashed its way through like some sort of hellish Kool-Aid Man. It sped through the shop, laying waste to the furniture, before crunching its way through the glass front and escaping out into the street. Three police cars sped after it, constables leaning out of their windows, some with guns and some with wands. The man was left surrounded by what looked like the aftermath of a particularly violent coffee fight. In shock, he turned to the counter and grasped his coffee, knuckles white. "I'm just..gonna, ah, take this to go."

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