Urban Renewal and Sweet Cars

Summary:
August 06 2014: Residents and visitors discuss a number of things in M-Town

M-Town Apartment Complex

Not the nicest spot in M-Town but a far cry from the worst. It's recently been upgraded with a state of the art heating and cooling system thanks to one of the newer residents.


Characters

NPCs

  • Simon, Roberto's personal assistant
  • Tori, an architect pitching a project to Roberto

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


The stoop is above the door to Mike's apartment, because it's also the old emergency fire door, which is why it has no actual handle on this side. There is a <klunk!> "dammit!? slightly audible from behind it, and a more obvious ker-lunk, and it creaks a bit on its hinges as Mike Drakos comes out the door, and then around the stoop to look up at the wreck of a woman on the stairs. It takes but a moment to diagnose her ailment.

"The wages of sin are hangovers," he says cheerfully, balancing a metal box about the same size as himself, on one shoulder.

*

Across the street, a cab deposits Roberto da Costa and two other people on the sidewalk. The smartly-dressed Brazilian mutant is facing away from them, squinting up at a row of homes as an Asian woman in a red blouse and pencil skirt gestures to some sort of architectural plan on a late-model StarkPad. She's explaining a development plan of some sort, but Roberto seems more interested in his surroundings than her pitch.

Soon, he spots the others across the street. He waves and jogs over to them, to the consternation of the architect and his personal assistant, a geek-chic white kid in horn-rims. "You look like you live here!" Roberto greets them enthusiastically — probably a little too much so for Nancy's liking. "Do you want a bunch of storefronts to go in across the street?"

*

Bobby chuckles. He's on the the stairs coming back up to his apartment after having taken out the trash. "Hey Mike. What's the… hangover issue? You didn't down a whole gallon of WD-40 again did you?"

*

Nancy looks up at Mike and grumbles at his cheerfulness. No one should be this chipper this early in the day. Okay, it's the middle of the afternoon, but it's still too bright out and therefore too early. Oooh ow! More cheerful people. Make the pounding stop! How the hell does Illyana manage to drink that much and still seem fine the next day. It's gotta be the demon.

With her hangover, Nancy is not worrying about keeping her power in check. It's at its full normal size and so many of the local mutants are avoiding her.

*

"That depends," Mike (the blue-haired gold-metal robot holding a refrigerator sized box over one shoulder) says. "Do you intend to evict the people living there in order to tear down the buildings and install them? Or try to get them to move so you can take the rent controls off the apartments? Because if that's true, I'm pretty sure we don't. You do know this is Mutant Town, right? Not precisely the best place to be Gentrifying."

Mike looks over at Bobby, and says, "I just use it to make beer taste right. Otherwise it tastes like old socks and sour bread." In other words, like American standard beer.

*

"Which is why I don't drink much." Bobby laughs, glancing over at the newcomer. "Um I don't…" Mike has already really articulated the main objections. "May I ask why you ask?" Sort of an odd question but…

"Trouble Nan?" Bobby puts an arm around her and kisses her on the cheek. He's… never seen her hung over before. Hell, he's never seen her drink.

*

"Of course I know where I am," Roberto answers Mike and Bobby, his tone almost reproachful behind a light accent. "In fact, it sounds like we are all thinking along the same lines."

His assistant timidly approaches the street traffic, then runs after him. "Mr. da Costa! We're supposed to be here for a development proposal, not—"

"I'm conducting market research," Roberto cuts him off. "If we buy up a bunch of homes and displace people during the construction, won't we build up resentment among the locals, causing the businesses to fail?"

The architect arrives, just a bit behind the assistant and a lot more collected. "The shops will create jobs in the area, and once they're complete, there will be much higher-quality loft housing available above them," she points out, in the smooth manner of one practiced with a sales pitch.

*

Nancy leans on her boyfriend when he kisses her. She takes one of his hands and rests it on her forehead until her proximity warms him up to body temperature. "Damn, that didn't last long," she complains. She makes a face at Mike's comments about beer, looking a little green aroound the gills at the mention of alcohol. Or maybe it's the addition of WD-40 to alcohol that has her so green.

She glares over at the new guy. "So, you're saying you are gonna kick people out on the street, no place to live, put in businesses that we might not even need, and then put in housing that is twice or three times more expensive then what's there now. Sure! Sounds great! Doesn't everyone wanna be homeless? Considering how many there are, it's gotta be trending by now."

*

"I suspect it'll be higher PRICED loft housing," Mike says, "if it's like what happened in Chelsea, Essex, and Delancey. The quality is not going to be better because unless you pull down the building, thus killing the rent controls, you won't be doing anything to improve the buildings. The people who live here aren't wealthy, Ma'am."

He puts the metal box onto the ground where a car would normally park - it makes a faint KLUNK that makes the car in the next spot sway a bit - and walks over to where Roberto is standing with the architect, and offers a hand to him for the human ritual of shakings. Clearly, an educated robot.

"Mike Drakos, at your service." For the moment. And in a limited way.

*

Bobby looks about. "Yeah, I mean, built sure when they're done but construction projects take what? A year? Two? You can bet it won't be the same people moving back in either. And they'd have to find a new place to live in the meantime anyway." The ice nerd, presently switched off, shakes his head. "Sorry. Just doesn't sound like a super good idea to me, if you're asking my opinion."

Nancy gets a squeeze. Yeah. It's a sore spot for her.

*

"I'm saying that I don't think that it's a particularly good idea, actually, for exactly the reasons you bring up," Roberto answers Nancy, giving her his most winning smile. His answer does nothing to win over the architect, though, and his assistant puts a hand over his eyes in exasperation.

"Roberto da Costa. Nice to meet you, Mike," he replies to the metal man's greeting, giving him a friendly smile. Not a patronizing one, either: he doesn't seem to see the man's mutation as a reason to treat him with kid gloves.

"And you're all correct, demolition and rebuilding is what they're proposing." He glances at the architect. "Why not just buy up spaces on the bottom floor, renovate there, and leave the existing buildings intact?" he asks her.

"New buildings will be certified to high standards of energy efficiency and living quality. They'll have a higher value and be more enticing for potential occupants." She shoots an acid look at the mutants gathered on the stoop. "Whether you're looking to make money or benefit the neighborhood, this development plan is a better option than historic renovation."

*

No, Roberto's smile does not seem to be winning over the grumpy goth. She scowls and looks over to Bobby. "Think you could make me an ice pack. Love you long time. Promise."

The architect volunteers for Nancy's venom. "The end result might very well be better then what is there now. There is still the issue you have not addressed of leaving over 50 people, some of them young children, without a home. How are they going to be compensated? Are you going to find home for them all? Give them first crack at the new suites when they come available at the same rent they were paying before? Or are you just looking at lining your pockets like every other fat cat in this city? Mutant Town is *NOT* your sandbox."

*

"Speaking as an actual resident," Mike says, "I've been interested for a while in improving the neighborhood, and I've been doing so without removing or damaging existing structures. This is not something you can or would do. Which route do you think will be more popular?"

"We have the translator for your code speak, Ma'am. New buildings will be a great way to kick out those undesirable current actual occupants who just happen to be mutant freaks so they don't matter to you, and like I said and you just confirmed, open the way for gentrification. Of course, there's a problem for your scheme being profitable: the "gentry" aren't going to want to move in here like they did in Delaney," Mike smiles. It's technically a very pleasant smile. "Because there's already the existing condos along FDR just a few blocks away, that have the water view, and they're not full yet. And of course the ones who have money are going to Rockaway or the Hamptons which have had renovations due to storm repairs. So really, do you already have titles to the buildings here, or are you thinking you will just swoop in and condemn them out?"

*

"Well yeah, ordinarily I'd agree but as Mike said, there are options here that aren't avail to regular contractors. Heck, Mike can put an entire building not only up to code, but waaaaaaaay past it with a pile of scrap and an hour. He's got our apartment in tip top shape and I watched him do that in the space of an afternoon. Others have similar talents." Which is true and not true. Bobby knows of mutants with general or focused mechanical or constructive abilities, but none who can do quite hat mike does.

*

"Tori, I'm sorry, but they're right. I don't like this proposal," Roberto says with a note of finality, crossing his arms. "I want to invest in the area, but this isn't the way to do it. Have your team work up something else."

The woman sets her jaw and flips shut the leather case containing her StarkPad. Without another word, she turns and heads back to the street to hail a cab. Roberto's assistant finally uncovers his eyes, gives the Brazilian a recriminating look, and mutters, "Six months of planning down the shitter, Bobby. I hope you know what you're doing." He rushes after the architect to make sure her cab fare on this wasted trip is paid for.

Roberto sighs and turns back to the locals with a sheepish smile. "Sorry to drag you into that," he says. "If it makes you feel any better, if she's a mutophobe, she's really barking up the wrong tree." He smirks and, just for a second, flicks on his high-energy Sunspot form. Or…tries to, anyway. Nothing happens, and his smirk collapses into a puzzled scowl as he looks down at his stubbornly mundane form. Looking back up, he glances at the others. "Okay… who's doing that?"

*

Smirking vindictively as the architect storms off, Nancy addresses Roberto. "Bobby and Mike are right. If you really want to help this neighborhood, hell, that apartment block specifically, get Mike here to work as Superintendant for it. He'll have it totally up to code with no extra money out of your pocket other than shipping in a dump truck full of scrap parts. It's a good idea, I just don't like the implementation."

She pokes at Bobby, the one beside her. "Ice pack? Please? I'll beg if I have to." She smirks at him but then looks to Roberto when he asks 'the question'. "Ah hell. Sorry. Time to tuck my shirt back in, company's here." She sits up straighter and takes a deep breath, pulling in her power as close as she can get it.

*

"They exaggerate, I'll need at least three weeks per building just to get the permits, and more than a dump-truck full of spare parts. I'm not a city-spirit, after all." Mike looks after the departing architect and assistant.

"I could say this in robot-speak but that takes too long," Mike says. "I was watching her micro-responses. She's very greedy, she disliked when I mentioned existing residents, neutral on mutant but wildly negative on 'poverty', and the response to 'have it condemned' was definitely guilty. Ambitious, a bit over her head, and probably not likely to come back with an alternative. Unless your assistant can get her to."

He looks at Roberto again. "DaCosta Ind├║strias do Brasil??"

*

"Money motivates even the pettiest of people." Bobby chuckles. "If Mister Roberto here really is serious about investing, she may find a way." As he's saying this, Bobby moves out away from Nancy, to about 30 feet. Getting a ziplock bag out of his pocket he manifests little pellets of ice until it's full, closes it, and comes back.

"Sorry Hun. Here you go." He says gently. Roberto's question of who is turning him off makes Bobby grin. "That's Nancy. It's her thing."

*

Roberto starts, surprised. "Sim — you know us?" he asks Mike. "We don't have a lot of name recognition up here, outside of specific circles." He shrugs and smiles, amending, "Then again, if you're in construction, I guess that makes sense."

When Nancy adjusts her field, Roberto gets a sudden rush of solar energy whose absence he hadn't even noticed until it returned. For a brief second, he flickers over into his Sunspot form — like he was replaced by a diminutive balrog — and then he's back to a composed rich kid. He sighs with relief. "That's better. Thanks. Nancy, was it?" He glances at Bobby inquisitively, but doesn't outright ask his name.

Instead, he turns back to Mike. "There's a chance I will be picking up some of these buildings at some point. If she doesn't deliver me a plan, someone will. Are you serious about wanting that sort of job? I could give you my card." He starts to fish inside his back pocket.

*

Nancy takes the baggie of ice and puts it on her head, making sounds that are best described as euphoric. "Oh god, I love you. I so needed that." She moves the bag to the back of her neck and lets it sit there, waggling her fingers to Roberto. "Ah, he probably did a web search on your name. He gets awesome wifi," she says with a smirk. Whether or not she's serious is anyone's guess.

She nods her head to Roberto, almost a bow as he shows off his form. "Nice, you and Bobby here should make a team. Call it Hot and Cold. And sorry for the snark. Tried to go toe to toe last night drinking vodka with a Russian. Bad, bad idea."

It seems that the so called 'mutant town' is quite busy with people walking and talking. That would include Draven Corbin as the comedian comes wandering in the direction of the group. Not that common of a sight around these parts perhaps, though he does occasionally show up and today is one of those days. A red t-shirt with his leather jacket over it. Hands in his pockets as he draws closer to the group. Glancing around and perhaps listening ot what is going on. "Hey." He offers to the group, "Is there something fun going on around here?" He asks, acting like he has not a single worry. Trying to listen and see what they are all talking about. Not really one to wait and see if he may join or not.

*

"Mike Drakos, Automotive Design Engineer, Drakos Motors. My father's Kyr Drakos, the CEO and primary sales contact," Mike answers Roberto. "Your father has ordered a custom sports car from us. It's on schedule to be delivered in late 2015."

He pulls out his own card, and swaps with Roberto. "If you buy the buildings and want to have them renovated in situ without displacing the residents, I will offer my services at a much more reasonable rate than what I charge rich people for new sports cars. And yes, I did search you online to confirm."

He looks at the new walk-up, and a smile goes over the gold-metal face, this time an actual smile rather than a 'technically pleasant' one.

"Yeah, Nancy here has been trying to out-drink a Russian."

*

"Bobby Drake. Ice nerd." Okay, Bobby works for Invicta Energy doing research on superconductors. He's a physicist and a bit of a prankster. But Ice Nerd does rather well describe what he does and how he does it. And he knows about all kinds of ice.

He grins over at Nancy, glad she's feeling a bit better and mouths to her 'Illy?'

*

Roberto gives Nancy a skeptical look. "Wait, he's Bobby? I'm Bobby. 'Berto too, but…" He trails off and stares at the decidedly fair-skinned frost-master, a grin spreading across his features. "Meu Deus — you're my long-lost twin, aren't you? Congratulations, Ice Nerd. You're a secret Brazilian!"

He swaps cards with Mike, grinning. "Small world, then. Here's hoping that now I know what I'm getting for my birthday next year."

He folds his arms across his chest and grins. "Yeah, my — uh, I guess she's my roommate now — she's Russian, and I find the Tortoise and the Hare a helpful guide. It's not about keeping up, it's about waiting until she passes out."

*

Chuckling as Mike introduces her hungover self to this new guy, Nancy waves. Bobby's mouthed question gets a nod from her as she rubs his leg. "I'll explain it all tonight, promise. We have a lot to talk about." She leans on him, the ice pack working wonders on her. She even takes off her sunglasses. Good grief! She's not wearing make-up! For those that know her, she is truly hung over if she didn't even put on her make-up this morning.

She snerks at her Bobby being an honorary Brazillian. "I'll get out the waxing kit tonight and make sure he's got fits the dress code," she teases.

*

As Roberto mentions his own Russian room-mate, Nancy blinks. "Wait… you're not… Has Illyana decided to couch surf at your place too? Small world, she's my best friend." Only now does Nancy actually smile at Roberto. "Nice to meet you. And fair warning. She doesn't pass out. Ever."

*

Draven does come to stand and listen to the four of them, raising a brow. Not quite following yet. Though he does seem amused either way. Slipping his hands out of his pockets. Lifting one hand to his mouth. After a moment there is a cough before he smirks at them all.

Letting his gaze sweep from Bobby to Bobby, and all in between. "Any of you know where I can find this building?" He asks, bringing up an address for inside this area. "Sorry to interrupt and all, but…" He just smirks, a huge one that shows his teeth. Trying to look as charming as usual.

*

Mike glances at the address and pops up Google Maps in his "HUD" and realizes that the directions to it from here are ridiculous, because it's down two blocks and then down a long loop, … "Just a sec," he says, sending the printout to the printer in his room. A robot helicopter emerges from the thermal vent pipe on the roof, and heads over, dropping a plastic tube to Mike, then flies back up and inside. RC Slave Drone FTW.

Mike hands the tube to Draven. "Here, google map from here to there."

Blasted mutant robot guys with their fleet of techno-servitors… "Today's the sixth, right? I wonder if … Hm."

He steps over to the refrigerator-sized box, and sits on top of it. A moment later, a second box, this one on tank treads, rolls down the alley, around the edges of the group, and parks next to the box Mike's sitting on.

*

Bobby grins. He's not nearly tan enough to be Brazillian. Nor is he likely to ever be, no matter how much wax Nancy applies. "Maybe I'm your snarky alter ego?" It's better than evil twin. Though he wasn't the one considering backing a proposal to tear down mutant homes, so maybe he's the good twin. Or the indifferent twin, since Bobby-the-not-so-frigid didn't actually go for it.

"Um… Mike… what are you doing?" He smiles at Draven pleasantly, but seems really confused by the robo-mutants actions.

*

"Wow — the world is even smaller than I thought. Believe me, I know about Illyana's unfortunate sleep patterns. Remind me to tell you how she ended up crashing in my guest room sometime," Roberto tells Nancy with a smile. He gives her an inquisitive look as he adds, "Are you at Xavier's, then? I haven't been around much lately, so I guess it's no surprise we haven't met."

He leaves Draven to Mike's unusual form of assistance — this isn't really Berto's neighborhood, after all. Bobby gets a smirk. "I'll be sure to let you know if I ever need help on the snark front," he says wryly.

*

Nancy shakes her head to Draven. "Sorry. I don't know this area well. I know how to get to *this* apartment and that's the extent of my M-Town savvy." She runs a hand through her black hair, the green streaks peeking through.

She too starts watching Mike with amusement and confusion. "What are you up to now, transformer?" As she sits on the stoop of the building, she cuddles closer to Bobby, resting her head on his shoulder.

She shakes her head to 'Berto's question, subtly so not to have to remove it from Bobby's shoulder. "I was there till just recently. I'm not in their good books right now and don't think I will be when I tell them my decision." She shrugs, sighing. "But you know, if we part ways, that's the way it is."

*

Reaching out to take the tube from Mike, "Thanks." Draven let his gaze shift to the box, "Got anything interesting in that?" He asks with a smirk. Lifting his hand to his mouth and making something that sounds like it comes from an Alien movie or something similar, with a bit of ventriloquist skills making it sound like it comes from inside the newest box. Smirking a bit as he listens to the paler Bobby. Personally Draven does not seem to be in a rush.

Just listening as the others go on about their own things, grinning a bit. Perhaps just getting some material for his next show. "Hey, I'm sure evil twin can be fun." He suggests to Bobby, before nodding to Berto's response as well.

*

As Nancy speaks he will smile to her, "Ah, no worries. Though just getting this far I suppose is an achievement. At least you didn't wander and get lost and end up here for the third time." He tries to assure her, just having a grin on his own lips. "And thanks for the offer, I am sure this will help for now." He offers, waving the tube Mike offered to him. Giving a thankful nod to Mike as well, "Again, thanks."

*

"Just talk amongst yourselves," Mike says, not giving anything away. "Oh, I know. Topic: The peanut is neither a pea nor a nut. Discuss."

He holds his left hand up with his thumb at his left ear and his little finger extended out like a telephone, and says, "dialing, ring, ring, click Hello, Dad? Yeah, this is Mike. Who else would call you on this line, nobody else knows it. Uh-huh. Good. Hey, you know order 102-12, yeah, uh-huh. You in the office? Awesome. Could you look it up?"

He brushes dust off one shoulder.

"Yeah, got it? Can we make delivery early? Yeah, right here in fact. Small world, Papa. OK, dorpbox me the contract and the numbers? How's Mom? E-Lizard still being good? She's watching Frozen huh. You're doomed. OK, got 'em. Thanks. I'll send you the deets."

Shaking out his left hand to 'hang up, he smiles at Bobby and Nancy but doesn't say anything. However, a few noises begin inside the refrigerator box that do NOT come from Mr. Draven. Clank. Click. WHAMWHAMWHAM. Whirrrr…

*

"Ummmmm……" Bobby just stares at Mike for a long moment before returning his attention to Draven and Bobby-the-Warmer.

"I'm… there. Ish." He makes a so-so movement with his hand. "There to help out, at any rate. But not, you know, any official capacity. Just a guy who knows some folsk there. Dunno, frankly, if I'll be there much longer, but you know." He leans over at the… tube Draven has to see what address he wants to find.

*

Nancy's answer gets a concerned frown from Roberto. "Well, I wasn't always the most popular with the administration myself," he tells her, his tone consoling. "You might be surprised at what they'll adjust to, at the end of the day. But it is a school; it's not like you're meant to stay there for the rest of your life."

Whatever is happening with Mike and Draven is so far beyond his technical comprehension that he doesn't even bother trying to respond to it. He just glances over at Bobby, eyebrows peaked in the middle. "I gather the school is not popular with you guys. Is there something going on back there that I should know about? I'm a rich alum — that's gotta carry some weight, right?" Roberto's always looking for a light angle on a serious conversation.

*

Nancy looks over to Draven as he starts heading off. "Hey, don't be shy. We're all just chewing the fat and getting to know one another. Come on and chat, or I'll take away your ability to speak for the rest of the day." No, not something she can actually do, but he doesn't know that.

Mike causes Nancy to laugh and she smiles again. "I needed this," she tells Bobby Winter. "Just hanging out without the drama." Her hand reaches out for his, her fingers lacing with his own. "You don't need to leave there cause of me, hun. I made my choices. Now I have to live with the repercussions. I'm not… right for that place, but that's not to say that you aren't."

She looks to Roberto and shakes her head, raising a hand as if to tell him not to worry. "I did… something that the administration doesn't agree with. And I'm not willing to cut off the people in my life that helped me do it. I didn't like what I did and if I could do it all over again, I would do it differently, but I'd still do it. I just think that I'm more… willing to get the job done."

*

Draven smirks about the peanut suggestion, "God, that could go on forever, man." He offers, overly exaggerated. Just listening to their talk about Xavier and stuff. Hearing Nancy he does grin at her, nodding a bit. "Ah, well, fine then. It would be hard explaining to everyone why I'm doing jokes through signs." He responds with a wry smirk.

Turning to be able to show Bobby the address he need to get to. About three blocks away or so. Clearly faster to walk to than drive, having to drive around if so. "How come so much fuss about the school?" He asks, shrugging a bit, it's none of his concern after all. He does listen curiously though as Nancy offers more information on it all. "Hey, there's always more than one path after all. Sometimes you do what is needed." He can understand that part of it all at least. Having been down that road in the past.

*

The refrigerator-size box that Mike's sitting on, widens, narrows in front, rises from the ground and grows longer. The second box moves sideways into it, blending like really slow-moving mercury into a larger blob of similarly slow mercury. The treads change around, turn into four solidus-rim tires with curved carbon-fiber spokes. The shape gradually shifts around and Mike suddenly vanishes into the embryonic vehicle. It rather quickly shifts around again, windows forming and re-forming, transparent aluminum crystal. It's silver, and sleek, and it looks like it's breaking the speed limit. After another minute, the passenger compartment becomes apparent, a comfortable area lined in a hexagonal-print matte metallic fabric, a custom camera system and tablet providing a superior mirror (though there are still the necessary number required by law.) Headlamps form out of the front. Running lights in the back. A pure battery/fuel-cell/electric drive system that would make Tesla Motors weep with joy. Dealer plates, with temporary permit number. As metal moves around, sculpting itself in and out, when it's done, the custom vehicle is sitting there, stainless outside, but no deLorean. The metal excess blob resolves itself into the usual robot form of Mike, but one arm and one leg are skeletal metal.

"These really fancy cars always cost an arm and a leg," Mike says, and the tablet floats out into his right hand.

"Mr. DaCosta, your father's gift to you was for this year. I know it's a bit early, but you'd have to take a taxi otherwise."

He offers the tablet. "If you could just sign there on the X to indicate you've taken delivery?"

*

Bobby whistles. "Now that's what I call one stop shopping." Hey, how many times do you get to see a car come out of a mini factory? Most folks, never.

"To answer your question, Mister DaCosta, we participated in some things that folks are less than happy about and stuff's up in the air. I don't think it's anything you'll have to worry about. No one's upset with you after all."

Draven gets a chuckle and a smile. "Drama, you know. Same any place you go." He says as he squeezes Nancy's hand.

*

"Well… both of you are welcome to stop by to visit Illyana and talk about it, if you need to," Roberto tells Nancy. Friend of a friend is more than enough for him to offer his hospitality.

Pretty quickly, though, Mike's display has completely derailed his train of thought. He mutters some serious, appreciative swear words in Portuguese as he gives the mechanic his John Hancock and walks over to reverentially inspect the mutant's handiwork. "Just tell me it's solar powered," he says with a puckish grin. "That would be too, too perfect."

*

"So, Julliard for one more year to get my degree and then… wherever will accept me for more schooling." She is about to say more when her jaw drops as she watches the car seem to unfold. "That is… so… awesome!" she says breathlessly. She leans over to Bobby and whispers something behind her hand, her smirk when she pulls away implying it was something devilishly naughty.

"Yeah, just personal melodrama. Don't worry about it. It's all on me. Though, if you are buds with Illy, I might tell you more. Later." She laughs at 'Berto's question. "That would be pretty perfect, as long as I'm not in the car with you."

*

Draven smirks as he watches the car being created, seeming impressed. Opening his mouth and seeming to enjoy the show. "Woah! That's fancy." He offers about Mike's powers. Though Roberto's words has him laughing, understanding it clearly. Turning to nod to Bobby, trying not to go on laughing. "Ah, yeah. It's something you won't ever avoid." He offers with a smile of his own, and a quick snicker.

"Ah, apologies, name's Draven Corbin." He offers to them all. Even though he's now assuming Mike at least already knew. "Whatcha studying?" He asks Nancy as she speaks about schooling.

*

"Of course. But it can't recharge very fast that way. Takes it about four days of good direct sun to build a full charge, though it can use solar to boost its operational range. And to run the accessories."

He nods at the tablet and it opens to the spec sheet and owner's manual. 1200 mile apx range on a charge, 15KWH to fully charge, zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds, curb weight 840#, etc. Linear gearing with offload to allow for speed and endurance. Stereo system from the dreams of an audiophile. Etc. Option to enable sattelite nav and music, option to enable a security mode that uses biometrics to unlock selected functions, like speed >10mph.

Mike shrugs to Draven. "I'm a technomancer, basically. Been doing this kind of thing for years and years, since I was a teenager. Not as fast with things that aren't cars."

*

Bobby just shakes his head as Mike delivers Bobby-the-Richer's car. Clearly, he's in the wrong line of work. Though the bit about the power systems makes him perk up. The thermodynamics specialist in him would love to know about that. Later.

"Nice to meet you Draven. And you too Roberto. We live here. Sometimes. Like I said, stuff's up in the air, but I'm sure we'll see you around if you really are gonna be investing in this place."

*

When Mike answers in the affirmative, Roberto balls up both fists, tilts his head back, and hisses, "Yesssssssss! I'm calling it the Sunspotmobile. You can't stop me. No one can stop me. I am above the law!" He points a wavering finger at the others, giving them a mock warning look. "I may not be the rich brat that this city deserves, but that is definitely the absurdly sexy set of wheels that this city needs."

The others are saying things, sure, but he's lost in his acquisitive high and oblivious to the world.

*

Nancy can't help but smile at Draven. After the last couple of days, not feeling like a pariah is heart-warming. "I'm going for my final year at Juilliard. Bachelor of Strings, with a minor in Music History. After that, I'm going to study theraputic techniques. I only realized this year that… I think I wanna be a social worker. If anyone is willing to accept help from someone as painfully young as me." She says the last part rather melodramatically, aiming for an Oscar, it would seem.

She softly frowns to Bobby. "We are likely living here more than there now. I … I don't feel comfortable, considering. I'll still go there as often as I can, for Mom and the family, but… " She winces, it's a tender subject.

Roberto has her laughing again. Ah, the rush that is buying something hugely expensive. "I'm sure you can call it whatever you like. We won't stop you."

*

Draven nods a bit as he listens to Mike, "That's awesome. I wish I could do something similar." He offers, shaking his head a bit. Seemingly amused. "Nice to meet you as well." He offers in return to Bobby. Smirking at Roberto's reaction. "Happy kid is happy." He teases.

Looking over to Nancy as she explains her studies, smirking as she asks all melodramatic. "Ah, well, if that doesn't work out you can always be an actress." He teases. "Then you're the one laughing like our friend there." Nodding in the direction of Roberto. Agreeing about the name for the car, "It's a good enough name. It sounds like it could even have it's own trailer." He teases, his voice turning into one similar to Don Lafontaine, the trailer voice, "In a world. Only one car rose above the others. This summer… The Sunspotmobile!" Followed by the sound of screeching tires and then the revving of the motor, "Coming soon." All the sounds do sound quite identical to the real thing. Clearly professional.

*

"Lots of people name their cars. Don't forget to send your father a thank you note on your birthday," Mike says, programming a reminder on the tablet for the car to remind Berto again when it's closer. He sends the signature and encryption certificates to his father's computer via the dorpbox and looks at his naked left arm, the various parts moving around only because he tells them to do so. All the muscle and subsystem had gone to make the batteries and solar panels. Arm and a leg, and nobody quite got it. Ah well. Normally, he'd have all the raw materials ready, but this was an improv job. Speaking of which…

"Draven. You're listed in the entertainment section as a stand-up comic? Man, you could make a mint as a voice-over actor. Announcer. Guy."

*

Roberto opens the door and flops into the driver's seat, breathing in the new car smell. Never mind that it's basically Mike's version of body odor. "Obrigado — I'll keep that in mind," he tells the mechanical man, coming down enough to express gratitude for the reminder. "Plus, I have to figure out something even more outlandish to get him for his anivers├írio. That's how the game is played."

Draven's narration has him laughing, too. "I think selling the rights might pay off, what, a quarter of what this baby cost?" he says with a grin, running his hands along the steering wheel. "It's a work of art, Mike. You all don't mind if I excuse myself to take it for a spin?"

*

As Mike looks up Draven the latter only nods, "Yup. And well, I've done some voice acting, though not a lot. Did a cartoon awhile back. Boomer." He offers, mainly to the others. As he's sure by the time he says it Mike is already finding it out. Turning his smirk towards Roberto. "Most likely. Though I am sure it will open doors." He suggests, smirking at the man. "Go ahead, wouldn't want you going insane waiting to drive it. I need to get going anyhow." He offers, bowing to them all. "See you all around." Then he dashes off. Jumping and moving quickly through the urban jungle.

*

"No idea whether he gets enough to pay for that much. The price is in the paperwork, but you'll have to look to find it," Mike says. "And, it's your car, so, of course. But let me know what you decide to do with the Madwoman of Gentrification. She might still be turned away from the Dark Side of Architecture."

Actually, this particular model just broke a million dollars, but Mike only gets a portion of that. There's taxes, and fees and overhead and it clears about $850K, but that goes to Drakos Motors. Mike's just another employee, making a salary.

(Note, half the actual profit goes to fund research into treatment of harmful mutations. A subject dear to Mike's parents' hearts.)

He sits down on the stoop next to Nancy and Bobby.


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