Alerak moved slowly as he woke up, the mid-morning light drifting in through the bedroom window. He rubbed his eyes as he reached for his clock. “Ehh… only 9:00. Ekajra’s probably already gone already,” Alerak said, pausing for a moment. “Nah, not late enough for him to be in trouble. At least, nothing too bad.”
He slowly climbed out of bed and walked to the door, stepping around all of his equipment. He headed to the small kitchen, his feet clinking on the tile floor, and grabbed a bowl. He poured some milk and cereal into it, grabbed a spoon, and went to go sit on the couch, shoving Ekajra’s pillow and blanket to the side. He flipped on the T.V. and watched some news before switching to a little morning cartoons.
After a few hours, when it got to the point where there was nothing good on, Alerak decided he might as well get moving on whatever he had to do today. He turned off the T.V., put his dishes in the kitchen sink, and grabbed a soda, heading for his room. He set down the can as he pulled on his pants and boots. “Alright, time to get to work,” he said as he strapped on his gauntlet and his slid his glasses onto his face.
He left his room again, opening the soda can. The object of his toil stood before him. It was out here and not in his usual workspace, his room, for two reasons. One, this room would be where it would spend most of its life, and two, neither Alerak nor Ekajra wanted to try and fit it through the door and maneuver the contraption through all of Alerak’s other contraptions. It’s not that it was immensely large, it only stood about a foot taller than them, but it was bulky. So it stayed where it was.
Alerak scanned the machine, marveling at his handiwork. It was rectangular in shape, the front side bearing an indent where a screen was and a flat control panel just beneath it bearing various buttons and joysticks. When he’d found it in an old junkyard it was in pieces, but now it was almost complete. He took a sip of his soda and said, “Today, you will be mine.”
He grabbed the sides of the cabinet, turning it at an angle. He then stepped to the back, kneeling down and pulling a screwdriver out of his gauntlet tool kit. He opened up an access panel on the back of the machine, lifting it away gently. A mass of tangled wires jumped out to meet him. He sifted through them, reaching to the “back”. He gently grabbed onto the control panel’s computer chip, as well as a handful of wires coming from the control panel.
He reached around to the front of the machine, feeling around on the control panel, locating the correct button and grabbing its wire. Slowly, he began to weld the wires for the control panel to their appropriate location on the chip. Having already figured out where most of the wires went, this only took him about half an hour.
Alerak then pulled out for a moment, getting another sip of his soda, before entering backwards, reaching up towards the screen and the speakers on either side of it. He hooked these up just as he had the control panel. With the audio/visual area taken care of, it was time to move onto the grand finale. He crawled out, and reached for a carefully stored plastic bag. He pulled it open, and slowly removed it’s contents; the main control chip for the machine.
Alerak slowly turned the large computer chip around, looking at it from every angle. “Well, everything seems to be in order. Time to hook this baby up.” He grabbed his tools and, once again, dove into the machine. With careful hands he began to hook everything to the central chip. Lastly, he attached two wires, which joined together into a single cord, which ended in a USB jack plug-in. As he backed out he grabbed a laptop and plugged the cord into it. “And now for a little coding…” He opened up a few documents and programs before pressing “enter”. A loading bar popped up, and he stood up, setting the computer down with a sigh. “And even with all my Legion tech skills behind me there’s still no escaping the loading screens. Guess I’ll just watch a movie or something to pass the time.” He strolled over to the T.V., popped in a DVD, and sat on the couch.
* * * * *
Ekajra walked down the crowded sidewalk slowly, his hands in his pockets. His was throbbing like someone had just hit him with a sledgehammer, and he was trying to ignore. It’s not that he wasn’t used to headaches, he actually had them quite frequently. However, this one felt different. And the noise from the people around him and the cars speeding by wasn’t helping.
His soon reached his neighborhood, his head feeling like it was going to explode. He trudged up to his house, walking inside. Alerak was standing there at his latest creation, which was producing it’s own noises to aggravate Ekajra even more. A strange, digital roar came from the machine as he Ekajra closed the front door. “Oh, hey Ekajra, guess what? I finally finished the arcade machine! It’s only got a handful of games on it, but if I put it together right I should be able to program it with just about any game,” Alerak said, turning around for a moment.
“Run, run, run!” a voice from the game called. Ekajra cringed as the digitized voice blasted into his ears.
“Yeah, that’s awesome dude. I’d play, but I’ve got this really bad headache. I think I’m just gonna lay down for a bit,” Ekajra said, pulling off his hologram device.
Alerak flipped off the machine just as another roar was beginning. “Okay, sure. I was dieing too much anyway. I’ll go work on something else. Good luck with the headache,” he said, walking into his room.
“Thanks man,” Ekajra called as he lay down on the couch, his natural hand over his forehead. An image flashed for a moment in front of him, but he ignored it.
Alerak walked over to his desk, clearing away some of the clutter. He pulled his pistol out from his gauntlet and began to take it apart. With a quick snap, the top of the barrel popped off, exposing the circuitry within. He popped the clip out and, grabbing a screwdriver, he separated the two halves off the handle. He laid out the pieces and looked them over, making a few minor modifications, before snapping it all back together, replacing the old clip with a new fully charged one. He slid it back into his gauntlet, and looked around for another project.
He grabbed his plasma rifle, which he’d only used once, and also took it apart, checking it over. It never hurt to be prepared. He also looked over the assault rifle he’d only just used a few days ago. It had worked perfectly, firing at a speed much more rapid than most other weapons of its type. The only problem was that it was pretty heavy, and would be hard to use in tight spaces.
“But, if I make it smaller, then perhaps it could have use for urban combat, which tends to be the case for most E.S.T. related missions. They could definitely use something like that…” he thought out loud, grabbing some paper and a pencil, drawing out specs for the new weapon.
He worked long into night, driven by sudden and extreme inspiration to the point that he actually fell asleep at his desk. He was stirred slightly when he heard a strange yell and then crashing noises, but was too drowsy to do anything. He figured it was just Ekajra watching T.V., and fell back asleep, while over-the-top maniacal laughter sounded in the distance. ‘Yeah, definitely a show…’ Alerak thought as he drifted back into sleep.
* * * * *
Alerak awoke the next morning, with an uncomfortable feeling in his neck. It took him a moment to remember what he’d been doing last night, and he slowly lifted his head off his desk. He cracked his neck as he stretched, looking over his work. The plans sat there, spread out where his head had been, and off to the side was the partially finished weapon.
“Well, looks like I got pretty far before I passed out,” Alerak said, passing his hand in between his dreads, yawning. He paused as he thought about what else happened the night before. “I’d better check on Ekajra.” He stood up, putting his glasses back on, and walked out of his room.
“Hey Ekajra, you feeling any bet…” Alerak called, stepping out. He stopped as he got a good look at the room. Furniture and other items were knocked over, the carpet was torn up in the center of the room, and the door was hanging by one hinge, deep claw marks across and around it. It looked like a tornado had whipped through the room. A tornado that also left scratch marks. And worst of all, Ekajra was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh… this is not good,” Alerak said, surveying the area. He walked over to the door, looking around. It didn’t look like someone had broken in through the door, but there were faint impressions in the ground as if something heavy had walked away from the house. He turned to survey the claw marks. “These seem familiar. I definitely recognize these from somewhere. They kinda look like… no, that’s impossible! Unless…”
He quickly whipped a small magnifying glass out of his gauntlet and examined the claw marks with it. “Ah man, I hate it when I’m right…” He stood up, worry and anger showing on his face.