Something Good

August 21, 2017:

Aesh does a good deed. Luke Cage tries to cover it up.

Luke's Bar

It could be any other bar in New York. It's rather unassuming, built into the corner of the ground floor of an aging brickwork building with apartments above.

A set of glass paned doors lead off the vestibule, opening up into a long and skinny main room that's taken up with a J-shaped bar, while small tables dot what little open floor there is. The left wall is compromised of multi-paned windows bifurcated by white metal blinds, blazed with the occasional neon sign sporting this beer or that booze. The bar itself has a draft station and pair of speed wells along with a myriad of multicolored bottles that are shelved against a mirrored wall. The bathrooms and access to the office and cellar are at the back.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The bar is just now waking up for the day, not quite busy but a few regulars have shuffled in from their daily grind to grab a pint or something stronger. A large man known as the owner is standing at the pay phone with one ham-sized fist wrapped around the handset as he talks into it. "A ticket is how much? Sweet Christmas…yeah, yeah, just book me on the next flight using that credit card number…Cage. Luke Cage."

*

The bar's routine continue as it normally does.. Until things change. Gunfire can be heard outside, the sound being followed by screams. Isn't New York a beautiful place? If one looks outside, they would see a quick fight: Two men seem to be going against a red-haired youth. Shots are fired at him but they seem to have no effect. The youth moves forward quickly, taking hold of one of the thug's arms. With a loud *crack*, the arm is broken. The other man gets a similar fate, falling unconscious with a kick to the face. Aesh points a hand at the two unconscious men, his hand starting to change. It becomes a strange-looking device and, with a loud *zip*, a net is fired at the two prone men, binding them tightly. The youth sighs, seeming not to notice where his fight took him..

*

At the sound of gunfire, the patrons of the bar scatter. Some dive for cover - just in case - while others move to the windows to see what's going on. Luke's body eclipses one of the windows as he too shifts to get a view and with a long-suffering he cuts his current phone call quickly give an anonymous call to the local authorities to report two gunmen have turned themselves. Funny how they just laid down in the street and trussed themselves up for delivery before passing out.

"Bar's closed!" Luke's voice booms as he moves to the door, slapping it open to usher people out without bothering to make them tidy up their bill. "You." He calls to the youth. "You alright?" Funny how that baseball bat just sort of appeared in his hand, but then again, he keeps it near the door for just such an occasion.

*

Aesh smiles slightly, having monitored Luke's phone call through his Hud. He approaches the man casually. "I'm sorry, sir." His voice is soft and he speaks politely, pointing to the two bound men. "I didn't mean to make you lose your clients." Looking at his arms he blinks, apparently having forgotten he had changed its shape. He sends commands to his Hud and his arm changes once more, the device disappearing. Where it has been there is only now a normal hand. "These men were gang members. They apparently thought it would be funny to try and molest young girls." He sighs, a soft blush coloring his cheeks. "Also, thanks for calling the police."

*

"No clients of mine." Luke rumbles, taking in the odd changes to Aesh' limbs with a calm casualness. Perhaps he's just used to living in a city with Metas running around. "Now get in here, kid, before the police show up. Unless you want to spend your afternoon answering a bunch of questions." He doesn't wait to see if Aesh follows, he just lets the door swing shut as he stalks through the interior of his bar, starting to close the blinds.

*

Following Luke without question, Aesh makes his way into the bar. "Nice place." He says as he looks around, moving to take a seat. "I'm Aesh, by the way." The youth introduces himself, smiling at Luke in greeting.

*

There is a little smirk from Luke there, as Aesh compliments the place. "Damn straight it is." With a final twist, he's satisfied the whole of the bar is obfuscated from outside prying eyes, and he even goes so far as to click off the neon OPEN sign that hangs above the door. "Luke." He says by way of introduction as he makes his way behind the bar, pulling a glass of water from the tap before setting it in front of Aesh. "And not that I mind the cops, by the way, but they'll spend just as much time on you as they will the bad guys."

*

"Oh, I'm well aware of that.. Thats why I tend to fly away before they arrive." The youth takes a look at the drinks available. "Would you mind giving me a beer?" He asks, quickly pulling a few bills from a pocket. "Lets just say I'm not a fan of the government." The youth adds. "Its a pleasure to meet you, Luke."

*

"You can …fly." That'll never get old, no matter how many 'differently abled' people he meets, judging by the stark look of incredulity on his features. He shakes his head with a bit of a laugh, as if clearing awestruck cobwebs from his face. "No offense, kid, but you don't look old enough to shave, much less have a beer. And the last time I fell for 'I'm half a millennium old, I just look young' I was cleaning puke off my shoes."

*

Aesh laughs, his eyes gleaming with mirth. "Thats a fair point.. How about a soda? Is that more acceptable?" He asks Luke, not losing his composure. "Yes, I certainly can fly.. And I'm certainly am old enough to shave.." He raises his hand once more, the limb now turning into a small, sharp-looking shaving razor. "See?" Aesh asks, smiling broadly. "Thats why I installed this thing."

*

Luke shrugs and grabs up the glass of water, pouring it out and, like a good bartender, gets a clean glass to fill up with ice and reach for the soda gun. "That's…scary as shit, kid." He admits with that rumble of laughter in his voice, just as the sirens from the police cars start echoing off the surrounding buildings. "Calvary is here. Don't worry, nobody around here saw anything."

*

"Well, I'm glad to know that.. Although if it comes down to it, I'm not too worried with people seeing me.." He shrugs. "Its not like I have a secret identity or something." He sighs, reaching for his glass of soda, the razor turning back into a hand. "Well, its just how I'm, I guess." He says, regarding the scary comment. "You can thank my cybernetics for that." He takes a sip from his soda, now feeling more at ease.

*

"I think the whole world knows something about getting used to the knocks that life gave you. Guess not many of them get cool appendages in the mix, though." Luke leans against the back bar, the pockets of his jeans resting on the lip of it. He busies himself by drying his hands with a white towel as he talks. "Must be popular with the ladies." He teases.

*

Aesh laughs for a moment, shaking his head. "Me? No, not at all.. Most girls are too scared of me once they see what I can do." He says this casually, still smiling. "Plus I don't have much time to socialize.. I run a small company.. You ever heard of Gentech robotics?" He raises his glass to take another sip of his soda. "So I don't have much time for socializing.. What about you? I mean what is it you do aside from being a very good bartender?"

*

"And how do you know I'm a very good bartender? I get all my socializing done here." Luke's laugh comes deep from his stomach, accompanied by a little shake of his head. Of course, it's nothing to be offended by, and he takes the compliment otherwise in stride. "Yeah, I heard of it. Name pops up in the news sometimes, I guess. That would explain all your fancy do-dads though."

*

Aesh laughs alongside Luke. "Well, you did ask me to enter here didn't you? I mean, you could have just left me outside." He looks around once more, his Hud scanning the place, recording what he sees to his memories. "Well, its not as simple as that.. I don't use gadgets… Its a bit complicated.. Lets say that circumstances ended up turning me into a cyborg."

*

"Eh.." Luke waves off the favor with a wave of his massive hand, "So you're…mostly machine?" He asks Aesh, pushing off his lean to grab a beer bottle left behind by one of the patrons that he ushered out, dumping the rest of the foaming contents before pitching the glass at the recycle bin he keeps for glass.

*

Aesh nods. "Exactly.. Technically, I only have a few organs left.." He says to Luke, his posture easy-going. "I'm not a machine but.. I'm a mix between organic components and cybernetics.. To be even more honest.. I designed my cybernetics myself.. They allow me to do things such as.." His eyes glow red for a moment, as he researches about Luke using his Hud. "You are Luke Cage.. Known for being a bartender and for helping your neighborhood with criminals whenever possible.." His eyes return to their normal color, a smile still on his face even as he sips his cola.

*

There's a chuck of laughter from Luke again, "That's not much of a feat. Anybody who walks through the door knows that." He holds up a hand though, lest Aesh try harder and worse: succeed. "Got me in a nutshell, though." He takes his rag with him as he steps out around the bar, once more wringing his hands with the cloth as he moves towards a window. With a finger, he drags down one of the metal slats of his blinds, watching the two perps outside be loaded into an ambulance and a police car respective of their injuries. "Should be clearing up soon."

*

Looking out the window alongside Luke, Aesh winces. "Oh my.. Looks like I broke his arm real bad." The youth comments, his vision zooming in in one of the ambulances. "Well, I've only researched your basic information, really.. Don't worry tough, I won't dig deeper." He chuckles, eyes going back to his glass of soda. "I really need to learn to fight better."

*

"I think you did just fine." Luke comments, judging by the medical attention the one criminal will have to endure before he can be fully processed. He lets the blinds snap back into place by releasing the draw of his finger, "But if you're from around the area, there's a boxing gym over on 124th. Tell them I sent you, and I'm sure they'll cut you a price on some lessons."

*

"Well, thanks but… I'm not sure Boxing is what I need." Aesh comments, his eyes now on Luke. "I only win most of my physical fights due to my enhanced strength.. Thing is, I have to be prepared for everything.. I once faced another cyborg.. The man used powered armor that allowed him to match my strength.. That fight was nasty and made me realize that I need to learn a proper fighting style.. I was thinking more of something with strong, crippling blows along with quickness." He looks at the door for a moment. "Since the police is about to go away shouldn't you reopen the place?" He asks curiously.

*

"I will once they're gone." Luke says simply with a shrug of his broad shoulders. "Martial arts. Everyone knows martial arts these days. What happened to good old fashioned punching someone in the face…" He seems to lament, "There's an exit out the back, dumps out in the alley."

*

"Thats ok.. As I said, I don't mind being seen by others.." This time, its Aesh who shrugs. "Well, I'd be perfectly fine with punching others in the face.. If it could put them down.. But that fight well.. If not for my technology, we wouldn't be talking today.. The man probably had some army training.." He says thoughtfully.

*

"Guess that's the world we've come to live in." Luke nearly grouses at his own statement, a frown hardening his features into a stony appearance. "People die all the time, sometimes for no good reason other than someone else was bigger and stronger or had more training. And sometimes, they just get hit by a bus." He scoffs and tosses his towel into a bucket, a little harder than he intended because the can topples over with a clang to punctuate his sentence.

*

Aesh sighs, a frown also on his face. "Believe me, I'm living proof that life, sometimes, can be a real bitch.." He puts his now empty soda glass aside. "Unfortunately, life can be very cruel.. People die for no reason than they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.." He sighs. "Thats why I do what I do.. I want to decrease the number of meaningless deaths." He says softly. "I like to think I'm doing something good."

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