New Age Auto Repair

Summary:
August 17, 2014: After an unexpected encounter with Deadpool, Domino limps her car to a promising looking garage.

Mike's Garage

An auto junkyard is way too close to the expressway on the Jersey side of the river from Staten Island. It's fenced with razor wire, there's a couple big buildings, and a smaller one that's an auto shop. The auto shop has a sign reading Mike's Garage.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
None


It's late afternoon on a Saturday, and the sleazy folks have been oozing into Mutant Town, and Mike's not really wanting to deal with it at the moment. He was out of work for a couple days earlier in the week because he was, well, in shock, basically, when he failed to save a teenage girl and a six year old boy from being horribly killed by a mutant who was in hard withdrawal from the Smooth, and even though the culprit was safely captured, the one who caused the death by interfering with the negotiations, well, he also went into shock but then he just denied that it was his fault in any way. Mike's not happy with humans, mutated or otherwise, so he's here in his garage talking to his friends the automobiles.

Right now he's finished an emergency repair. Someone had really done a number on this poor thing.

*

It's a bit more of a drive than Domino would have wanted to make for some on the spot assessments, but being connected to a junkyard and being somewhat off of the beaten path makes the trip worthwhile. Some things need to be seen in person, and with her gift of being able to randomly pick things which happen to turn out being rather fortuitous for her it seems like a trip worth making.

Speaking of 'emergency repairs' and 'someone doing a number on this poor thing,' the black '69 Stingray convertible which rolls in might look downright mint, if..not for the fact that the whole frame is leaning toward one side. Bent, as if something had tried to fold it in two but gave up while it could still move itself around. More or less. The passenger seat's in bad shape, the rear bumper's got a dent in it, and plenty of fresh scratches mar the undercarriage from unexpected bottoming out.

A newer car may well have been completely trashed under the same level of torture. At least the engine still sounds great!

The lone and ghostly pale occupant eases it around to the garage then sets the handbrake and climbs out, stepping into the shop through an open garage door. "Hey, anyone speak English around here?"

*

The Karmann Ghia that appears to be on the rack lowers to the ground, revealing a metallic-gold-skinned person who looks something like a department store mannequin in a mechanic's jumpsuit, for a moment, until he moves.

"Yeah, I speak English. What do you… OH YOU POOR BABY!" Mike, the gold-skinned guy, vaults over the side of the Karmann Ghia and crouches down next to the Stingray. "Oh MAN, what did they… are you OK? Your poor shocks, is that a BULLET hole?"

He stands and looks at Domino, "What have you been doing to this poor car??"

*

(Huh, vintage Vee-Dub represent.)

When what would sure appear to be a mechanic speaks up Dom turns his way then stops short, right around when he leaps into action (literally!) and goes rushing toward the wounded vehicle. "I -" she starts but cuts herself off, mouth gaping open slightly as she holds a fingertip up in a silent form of protest.

Then she lets her hand back down. Still staring. At the mechanic.

There's no way of doing this gracefully. Explaining what happened -or- dealing with the fact that the mechanic appears to be mechanical. What on -Earth- did she just find out in Jersey this time?

"Shouldn't be a bullet hole," she awkwardly states while ducking her head to scratch at the back of her neck. (Had those patched up a while ago…) "Well…odd story, really. Guy fell from a flag pole. Right into the seat. I'm not too happy about it, either."

Probably a good thing this guy didn't see the BMW she eviscerated with a claymore mine last week.

*

"She did?" Mike says to the car. He looks up at Domino. "You need to do something about your previous mechanic. He missed one of the bullet holes. Undercarriage is hard to read though, I don't really blame him."

He looks at the car from the other side, and raises a cobalt-blue eyebrow just like a human would, if he had one and were faced with a puzzling or questionable thing. He holds a hand out over the car and the rear seat slips forward, and a small holdout pistol floats up into his hand.

"I don't think this was supposed to be jammed into the seat where it was," he says. He holds it out to the woman with the "patch" and says, "How soon do you need her to be ready?"

*

(Alright, this is slightly awkward.)

Then it gets to be even -more- awkward when a forgotten holdout weapon is revealed, and handed right on over to the albino. She's looking juuuust a bit blank when she reaches out to take it. "Seemed like a good spot for it at the time, are you..-reading- the car..?"

If her equipment could ever talk…

"Hey, I -respect- classics, alright? It wasn't my idea to mix it up with all of this crazy stuff," Domino quickly says in her defense while tucking the pistol away at the small of her back. "I've been …having… some difficulties with the others so I dusted this one off, all my luck that the first time I've had it out in weeks and this crap happens."

The car's got some history, too. Used to belong to a drug dealer in the Bronx. It's seen, and been through, a lot. The dent in the bumper happened when she ran over the same guy that fell into the seat. A very colorful, and more often than not violent, history.

"How soon can you get everything in order? You -can- fix it..right?"

*

Reading the car? Talking to the car more like - not out loud so much, it freaks people out even more than this, Mike has learned. Still. The car likes this owner. Says she's a spy. That doesn't feel right, more likely a contract killer based on what she's carrying, so much metal with death in it. Still. She's a customer, and she has the cash. He says to the car, «don't tell her I'd work on you for free. She doesn't need to know that.» The car snickers — the lights flash briefly.

"Sure. I can get her back to new, coupl'a hours. She was telling me about the drug guy. You want to wait or come back? I was gonna order in a pizza."

He nods at the garage and the second door retracts up to reveal an empty work bay while the first door closes.

"I have coffee. Never drink it at work, but the customers like it."

*

For someone that doesn't share these powers the whole situation is just some sort of eerie. Granted, Domino's spent lots of time with a man who's nearly half infected by the Techno-Organic virus. He's done some crazy weird things before, and being a telepath doesn't make it seem any less alien. But this..? Did her car just -respond- to the guy with its lights?

She's in waaay over her head, here.

"She was - it..what?" the albino replies in an absolutely clueless tone. "You can really tell all of that?" (Should I be concerned about you being a security breach, kiddo?)

Sitting around and waiting for a few hours sounds somewhat boring but at least that way she can keep an eye on the repairs, and this strange fellow that's doing the work. It would make her feel better to know there's no risk of wandering back in a few hours to an FBI ambush, or something similarly unpleasant.

"You've got my attention," she replies. In more ways than one! Is he seriously talking to her ..Can that even be -done?-

Suddenly she feels like apologizing. To the car.

*

"Not to worry," Mike says. "They usually go back to sleep when I'm not talking to them."

He saw that same expression on his Mom's face years ago when he first started talking to the family car. The things it said about her driving were … unkind.

"So. The worst parts of this are going to require me to take some things apart. I should give you the estimate first, huh?"

He holds a hand out, and a holographic image appears over it, showing the damage areas.

"There's a serious bend here, here, and here. Consistent with a 200 pound lump hitting the car at near terminal velocity. There's that hole in the spring clamp here, and some rust under here, rust never sleeps, and the seats will need some repair. Battery was fortunately not under the guy, or it would have cracked and leaked all over everything. Shell is metal, not fiberglass — not too many of those, the fiberglass was more popular — So. Two and a half hours labor, two iron ingots, shop fee, it'll come to 365 bucks. That OK?"

He isn't charging what he charges for new vehicles. She wouldn't likely have brought that much on her. Or expected to find that kind of vehicle here. Nobody does.

*

Back to sleep. 'Usually.' "Just..tell me this much," Domino quickly starts. "My car isn't going to try and kill me or something now, is it? No unexpected failures with the locks or seatbelts or anything?" She's going to go ahead and be glad this one doesn't have airbags.

Gees, this is just… "See, now I'm wondering if I should have you give my vehicles a psych eval or whatever first to make sure they're not gonna flip out on me or something."

Holographs, even! From a freaking junkyard! It would seem that she picked the right place to go, alright.

It's also fortunate that she deals in cash for all of her transactions, which means there's often an excess of it to be had. The quoted price is a far cry less than what she had been anticipating, too. "Are you for real?" she suddenly asks while peering at the mechanic with slightly narrowed eyes. "I was worried that I'd have to appropriate something from another dealer, way it's smiling when viewed from the side. You can fix all of this, in a couple of hours, for less than four Bens?"

Pause.

"You'll be seeing a lot more of me."

*

"She likes you, you drive her fast. And yeah, that's the price… This is what I do to relax," Mike says. "If you want something really fancy, I charge my regular rates. Look up Drakos Motors, custom sports cars," and he hands over a business card. Shiny. Has an URI and one of those annoying patterns, subtly traced in the thin metal of the card, that can be used to just GO to a webpage from one's phone, if it has web and camera.

"I was serious about the pizza, you want anything? I got Hawaaian coming for the guys over in the main shop. I just planned on a small pepperoni, for myself."

He puts a hand out, and the car floats up about a foot off the ground and stars moving into the open bay.

If Dom does look up the website, she finds a page that doesn't even list prices on it.

*

"I'm glad it - she likes to run," Dom thinks aloud, though the way she's got her arms folded together proves that she's still feeling guarded over all of this. The offered card is taken and looked over front to back. Y'know what, she'll hang onto this. Fancy custom rides may not be subtle, but they sure are fun!

As to the pizza, she says "So long as it doesn't have fish or ranch dressing. Yeah, pepperoni's fi-"

The car… Is -levitating.- The website can wait a little while longer, this is sooo much more worthy of her attention right now.

"I should probably stop installing car bombs after this…" she mutters to herself. Then going back to an actual conversation, she adds "I have no idea how you can do any of this but more power to ya, kid. I'm not about to ask. All I want in return is the same courtesy. Straight cash for services rendered, no strings, no logs."

*

Mike walks into the work bay. Near the front is a "customer waiting" area which offers a clear view of the work space. The threatened coffee is there. There are chains overhead, attached to the heavy beams that make up the interior structure, and remarkably few tools out. There are two big toolboxes, but they're locked, and off to the side, like Mike doesn't really use them.

"OK, sweet lady, time to let me see your injuries," Mike says to the car, and there's a cha-lunk, and the car's shell detaches as if it were already unfastened — he apparently knows how to unfasten fasteners subtly, quick worker — and then it floats up as Mike raises his left hand vertically. The chains move under to hold it in place while one of the spotlights moves down to make the light better.

With the shell off, a lot of unhappy dust and road debris is visible, and Mike says, "Might want to look away for this part."

Out of a barrel near the back of the bay, a swarm of sparkling metal bugs runs out and begins crawling over the car, clearing away debris and built-up grease and … well, that nasty stuff that happens.

"So, yeah, I'll work on that basis, but you were kind of lucky to find me here tonight. It's better to make an appointment, I only work on four cars a day, four days a week. So far, no long waiting lines, but I won't promise there won't eventually be. This is my personal workspace, so it's just me. The other guys at the junkyard? Not necessarily mechanics. Don't let them take money for fixing things unless you check with me first."

The swarm of bugs moves back into the barrel leaving a clean, shining car behind. With obvious injuries, now that the body is off the chassis. There's a definite hole in the swing-arm that attaches the rear left spring fixture, and there's rust on one of the struts.

Mike picks up an iron ingot the size of a twenty pound dumbell and walks over to the frame. He leans over, and metal wire starts feeding out, slowly replacing the metal that was damaged by the rust. There's a creak as the bent frame members straighten, and they glow red for a moment as the metal is reminded of what its crystals should feel like. Not stretched, not bent.

*

Coffee, yeah… It seems like such a stupidly simple thing to Dom now that she's getting clued in on the kind of work that goes on around here, and that the show's barely even begun. She gets something in a cup! This other guy completely halves her car with a few motions of his hands, like someone's simply popping the top right off of an Oreo cookie.

With the offered warning she stands there with cup in one hand and a hip held by the other. "Are you kidding? I don't want to miss this." It's an educational experience all around! How he works, what he does, what other things he might be capable of doing with these fancy abilities… This is useful intel. It's also pretty darned fascinating. And unnerving. Alien..that's the word for it.

She can't help but wonder if the inside of Cable's arteries look anything like this swarm of metal flies.

"I'll be damned," she mutters while the ingot gets turned into something else with a thought. Why would she have wanted to look away, because she couldn't handle the sight of it all? It's just..well..look at it! Holy crap! "I'll keep that in mind." Though unfortunately making appointments first is easier said than done. Things just have a way of happening around her, they can't be planned out in advance.

She'd start counting out the money if she could look away from this automotive surgery long enough to sort through the bills.

*

The next fifteen minutes are more boring. Mike is going over the car, tiny space by tiny space, pushing slightly or peeking at something here or there. At one point, the left rear side of the car lifts as if there were a jack under it, and Mike takes the nuts off the wheel by hand, then pulls the wheel off. The weird angle has worn the bolts, and he sort of pushes them back to what they should look like, and runs his fingers along the thread to repair it. The same treatment returns the wheel hole to 'round' instead of the worn shape it had. He puts it back on and re-tightens the nuts, without the traditional voop-voop noise of an air-powered torque wrench. Though if he sees Domino watching, he'll grin and make that noise when he tightens the last one. As he's lowering it back down, the Pizza guy comes up to the main house, then leaves. A moment later a young guy, late teens, comes down, and Mike goes out and takes the pizza box from him.

"Got a customer, I'll be up later."

The kid shrugs, and heads back, not having seen Domino's face. Thus is the 'no strings no logs no trace' agreement kept.

Mike takes a slice of pizza and a can of antifreeze, and washes the pizza down with the antifreeze. Yeah, that's gotta be tasty.

*

"Charming," is said out loud with a smirk. The call of the wild auto mechanic. 'Voop-voop!' Maybe there's less to see from the waiting area but that doesn't discourage Domino's attention any. What the heck else is she going to do while she waits? Besides, now she's learned that this guy can repair machined threads with a pass of the hand. That could sure be useful if she strips out another grip screw or suppressor, frames and barrels start to get a little expensive.

Pizza works. It's been a while since her last over-exposure to the dish, though the stuff always brings back memories. She'll pass on the antifreeze, though.

Despite her 'no questions' declaration before she's really, -really- curious about this guy. Heck, she knows another synthetic in the city and she's -nothing- like this guy! Just seeing him in action would probably cause some sort of psychological trauma to the crazy girl.

(Maybe that whole 'magnetic personality' crack isn't so far from the truth, half of these people are made of metal.)

*

After his slice of pizza, Mike goes into a bathroom and there's the sound of a shower, followed by some hissing steam. He comes out again with a bit of steam wafting off his clothing.

"Cooling down," he says. "Metalkinesis. Tends to warm the heat sinks."

He sits down cross-legged in front of the car and begins doing something with a metal thread to the radiator. It seems to have the usual number of expected bad spots. The rest of the antifreeze he pours into the radiator and follows it with another can, then a bottle of purified water. A container slides over to him, and he places it under the radiator, and pops off the radiator plug. Gunk comes out, then clear, and he tightens up the radiator plug and adds more water to the top.

"Didn't notice that in the estimate. No extra charge," Mike says. He moves around the car looking at different spot, then steps back. The upper half of the vehicle lowers down on its chains, and he walks around underneath it, looking for crud, and apparently finding it. The chassis, now straightened, rolls forward and then the body is lowered further. The metal bugs swarm out and go over it again ferociously seeking out stuff that doesn't belong. They go up Mike's pant leg and along his side and out his arm to where he's touching it to get there.
That process takes another few minutes — there's more to hate in the body — and then they swarm down again.

"This is why it doesn't cost an arm, a leg, and a firstborn," Mike says. "I'd feel like a cheat if I charged that for regular repair work."

*

He can't be done already, right..? Who takes a shower in the middle of a job? Yes, the grit and crud's already gone thanks to those metallic locusts and all, but…

Heat sinks. This guy really is a robot. "Hate when that happens," Domino cluelessly agrees. (Does that ever happen to Evelyn? I'd ask her about it sometime but she might hit me.)

Again, with the metal bugs. It's cool! She just hopes that tech, or whatever the heck it is, doesn't get noticed by the wrong people. She can already imagine how badly life would suck for people like her, and probably this guy, if SHIELD or the SRD were able to do anything like what she's seeing here.

Seeing such a thorough cleaning of the black classic is already making her not want to drive it anymore. Maybe she could call in a flatbed and have it delicately lifted back to a safehouse outside of the city? No, but the car herself said that she likes to go fast. Storage isn't the solution to this matter.

"Though at your rates and turn-around time, and with how much you're able to get done, you could start putting everyone else out of business." (Mental note: Keep an eye out for contracts against this kid then intercept, he's worth keeping alive.)

"Question time." Pointing to the car, "She wants to run? She can run." Using Mike's pronoun for the Stingray now, too! "What options do we have to -keep- her running? I normally wouldn't consider mixing up a classic in my day to day operations. Can we reinforce the body or something to keep her in the game longer?"

*

Mike is moving underneath the chassis now, with that dwindling ingot of iron. Thread is going up into places where the metal is thin, or rust has tried to start, or simply wear and tear points. He reaches out as the last wire moves up and a second ingot moves through the air into his hand.

"Well, yeah, that's what I had planned to do … when I get done fixing the crease in the body, I'll change the metal undercoat on the chassis and this part to something that can handle salt and road gunk without rotting. If you decide you want to armor her up against the kind of abuse you sometimes run into, well, I can do that but not while keeping her pristine, and this is a collector's car, which is why I'm glad you're driving her. She's too lovely to be put in a box and hidden away."

The body has a bit of a 'smile' still, but Mike lifts gently against one point, and talks to the metal, and it relaxes and returns to its proper shape, then glows red again as it and the sloppy drunken grin shape is replaced by the cool, elegant, model's expressionless, haughty grace that should be there.

"If you really want her to be able to turn a bullet, I'll have to look into something more advanced. A structural field, or maybe a nanite foundry. The foundry would be easier, I think. She'd be able to heal, if you fed her the right things."

Now there's a Christine bit of imagery. What to feed your car.

*

(Best three-sixty I've ever dropped into a car before…)

"Therein lies the problem. Might need to try and find a middle ground, I'm not anxious in turning her into a tank but bullet holes don't do her any favors." She may have had people try to drive -over- her cars a few times in the past, too. It didn't do her BMW any favors before she blasted a new sunroof into it.

Being encouraged to drive it rather than keep it hidden is met with a partial shrug, though Dom's really trying to push that feeling of guilt aside again. She -had- let this one sit and collect dust down by the Manhattan docks for several months, it always struck her as being a bit too high profile for her line of work.

Ah, who's she kidding. She's an albino with a black -spot- on her face. The car's not going to change things a whole lot.

She's not done being surprised today, either. "You could make the car heal damage… Hey, if that requires a steady diet of premium fuel then I'll make it happen." (We're creating a monster here, aren't we. At this rate people are going to mistake me for a superhero just because of my ride.)

*

A fine metallic sheen begins migrating across the underside of the body. When it finishes, Mike steps over to the chassis and the same thing starts happening there. Meanwhile, he talks.

"OK. This is new research, so I'd have to charge you my real rate for the work. It'd be six grand for initial research, nonrefundable because it's eating my time, and I'll let you know in three weeks whether or not I find anything useful. If I do, it'll probably be another two grand to finish, and it won't include the license or instructions to the stuff, because it'd be possible for the wrong people to do some really nasty things with it."

Mike steps over to where Dom is standing to roll the chassis back into place and then the body holds itself still … the chains unwrap and move away, and then it lowers onto the chassis and there's a series of click-whirr-buzz noises as the various fasteners, one by one, returns to their correct place.

The engine starts, purring a bit more than it did earlier — not much though, she was in great tune before.

*

Six grand isn't a huge investment for what could end up saving her quite a lot in vehicle costs, or getting beat to hell and back when she's trying to take them from someone else. Though, for as much cash as Dom carries with her on a regular basis, six grand is a little more than she can handle on top of the repair bill. That's not to say that it can't happen, though. Or won't happen.

"Hey, so long as it would work I really don't care -how- it works."

There's just something way creepy about a car which appears to reassemble itself. Things like this don't seem like they should ever happen, at all. And yet, here it is! Even the remote ignition, now it's just showing off. Whether Mike's, or the car's.

At least she managed to isolate the payment due while the frame had been getting patched back together. She's got it ready, paid in full. No change necessary.

"I don't say this lightly but you're a miracle worker, kid. You're my new go-to. We can talk more about this idea of yours another time."

*

"Thanks. And you've got my direct contact info on the card there. Let me know if you need anything else fixed, and I'll slot it into my schedule."

He lets the car roll forward to stop next to Dom… to-the-driver service.

"Be good out there," he says to the car. "No unnecessary showing off, and watch out for potholes and pedestrians."

Mike isn't exactly ignoring the 'miracle worker' thing. He's heard it for years now, from friends, family, customers… if he let it go to his head, he'd be a total jerkface, and probably be all "Mutant IN YOUR FACE" arrogant. Fortunately his Mom would give him the Mom Look and his Dad would give him the Dad Look and he'd explode. So he just waves to Dom as she gets ready to go. The money goes into the till.


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