A Shock to the Worlds of Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral

May 30, 2018:

Drake Riley comes upon Cliff Steele fighting the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man in Central Park and stops to help out.

Central Park

The southeast corner of Central Park


NPCs: Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man

Mentions: Danny the Street, The Chief (Niles Caulder)


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's a normal summer day in Manhattan. Cars honk relentlessly at one another in traffic approaching Midtown. Hot dog vendors seem to appear from nowhere on every block corner. Tourists take photos and video of everything they can, stumbling about in their distraction.

Oh, and near the southeastern edge of Central Park, there's a large golden robot in a leather jacket punching what appears to be a Tyrannosaurus rex with human arms.

The T-Rex groans and stumbles backwards before its face contorts into something like a crystalline octopus, its gleaming and multifaceted tentacles reaching out to grab the robot's forearm.

"Aw, shit!" the robot exclaims in an excited, albeit synthesized, voice.

The T-Rex-person-octopus begins to pull on the arm while the robot resists. The T-Rex's legs transform into massive oak trunks that dig into the soil. The robot arm's welds pop and the arm is rent off at the elbow.

New York City is a big place with a lot of opportunity to get into trouble. Drake has been attempting to avoid trouble, but having zero income and only the plucky determination to somehow make it work gives him very little choice. There are some moments, however, that present Drake with such a choice: step out into the light or keep his head down. Drake had intended to swipe a hotdog from a vendor, but has instead stumbled upon a bizarre scene. It's like clash of the titans. Gold Robot vs. Crystalpus Tree. Like a Syfy Original.

In the end, this is a part of why he ditched his family in the West Coast. It's an opportunity to be something, to do something that matters. So while his nerves are tight, he nips onto his bottom lip and tugs the hood of his head - cap and all. The sunglasses are set over his eyes as well. It's certainly not a costume worthy of a superhero, but it'll keep him from being easily identified, he hopes!

Drake runs forward and skirts to the side, flanking both combatants. His hands start to raise, and.. he pauses. Wait, who's he supposed to help here? "Uh! Hey!," he shouts. "Who's the badguy?!"

For some reason, he expects complete honesty.

The massive hybrid creature-thing responds to Drake's question by hurling the amputated robot arm, held in one crystalline tentacle, at the teen's face.

In a voice that sounds like the creature's gargling shredded glass, it shouts: "Stay back while I deal with this /abomination/!"

The one-armed robot makes a sound that resembles a sigh - or maybe the beginning of a fax transmission - and shakes its head. "Kid," the robot calls in its own inhuman voice, looking over toward Drake, "ever heard the story of the plucky robotman up against the GIANT FREAKING MONSTER?"

Then, the jacket-clad automaton slams shoulder-first into one of the creature's tree-trunk legs. It cracks and the tentacle-faced T-Rex shrieks. In response, a massive lobster claw suddenly emerges from its stomach and clamps tightly about the robot's waist.

"No no no nonononono…!" the robot shouts, slamming its fist against the claw.


Drake instantly drops to all fours, letting the robotic limb sail overhead. That answers /that/ question!

The huddled position shifts into a low crouch, studying the situation. The two are grappled together. That complicates things and limits his choices. Somehow he doubts he'll be able to overpower the dinotreebster. "Alright, Robotman, fair enough!," he shouts, evidently just adopting that as the gold bot's name. "I need'ja to get away from it for a sec!"

Still kneeling, Drake's arms raise to shoulder-height. With a *CRAK-SNAP*, torrents of brilliant blue electricity coil along his arms in thick tendrils, encapsulating his hands up to the fingertips.

"Just a sec'll do!"

"Do you think this is how I wanted this go to?!" the robot calls from the giant lobster claw's clutches. It leans forward and tries to wedge its arms in the space between the pincers in an effort to try and open up room to get free.

The ungodly monster holding onto the robot transforms again, its head becoming that of a white-haired man who fumes. "Little boy," it snaps at Drake, "if you think you're going to prevent me from taking care of this trash, you are /gravely/ mistaken."

The creature's arms turn into long, snaking vines ending in large Venus flytrap leaves. They curl and twist their way along the ground toward Drake.

Just then, the robot manages to give himself just enough space to fall through the lobster claw, which snaps shut with a loud CLACK! in response.

"What the -?" the man's head snidely asks, distracted by the escaping robot.

Drake Riley maintains the electrical charge, creating quite the lightshow in his own right and thoroughly outing himself as a mutant. Though there's also the chance that he's just superhuman or something, he somehow suspects the default is to cry, "Mutie." He doesn't really have long to think about it. The movement along the ground has his attention, urging him to stand upright and skip back a few steps further. "Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap.."

The retreat is thankfully not in vain as the more human head on the.. is it even a dinosaur now? Whatever it is, it's as distracted as Drake is perplexed by its existence. And seeing the goldbot has severed physical contact with the abomination, he diverts his focus from defense onto offense. Both arms thrust forward with open palms. The gathered energy swirls forward in a condensed vortex of electricity aimed for the bulk of the beast!

The animal-vegetable-mineral man lets out a cry of pain across multiple, harmonic octaves as its tree-trunk legs burst into flames from the electrical blast. Its form twists and shudders, as though it's losing control of its features, and for a moment it's less a hybrid of vine and lobster and human than it is an amorphous glob of chaotic elements.

But only for a moment.

The figure crystallizes - literally - into a diamond-like bipedal structure that swings a sharp pillar of an arm at the teen. With its other arm, the creature focuses the sun's reflection into the eyes of the robot-man, who reels backwards, disoriented by the overwhelming illumination.

"Should've - gah! - gotten those sunglasses installed!" the robot groans, feeling about with its one good arm for some sort of anchor point. He's careening about a small open area. "Kid!" the robot calls. "Knock his ass out!"

The electrical blast ends, and Drake stands agog at the visual. His right hand lifts to pinch the corner of his shades, tugging them down his nose to get a better, less obstructed view.

"What the Heeeell?," introspects the youth.

He'd expected that surge of electricity to be the end of it. It would've been the end of most things; certainly most people. He'd adjusted the power output to match what he expected the menace to be able to handle, which was a bit more than he'd typically project onto most targets. Big hoss and all. But he may have to revisit his calculations, as it didn't end things outright. In fact, there's now a sizeable chunk of crystal swinging at him. With a startled sound, he hits the deck in a splay, wide-eyed enough that the lenses of his shades can't /quite/ mask it.

The teen rolls to the side and scrambles to his feet. Before he can fully assess the situation as it's unfolded, he's given an order that doesn't require a lot of strategy. His arms thrust forward again, palms out, and electricity immediately coalesces into a projected stream. The energy is more radiant this time, bathing a short area around Drake and the persistent current in flashing blue and white light. The force behind this attack is stronger and steadily ramping up, determined to take the opportunity for its full advantage and bear the target down into submission.

As its swing overshoots Drake, the crystal creature adjusts its form to something more serpentine, clearly trying to quickly maneuver back toward its foe.

The second blast of electrical power into its form is unexpected—and there's a mix of reactive combustion from the mineral and the reptilian elements of the changeling figure. Both seem to jerk about in galvanic response to Drake's attack, and the figure screams in a distinctly human voice: "No! No more!"

The robot, still regaining a sense of sight from the blinding effect it had been dealing with, launches itself toward the sound of that voice.

Even as Drake's electricity blast ends, the zapped creature shifts into the form of a man past his prime, wearing a white-and-blue singlet. Immediately after that, the robot's full weight lands on the man, and the latter falls unconscious, the air escaping his lungs.

The robot makes its sighing-or-faxing(?) sound and looks up at Drake. "This guy, am I right?" it asks before spying its discarded forearm. "Oh, hey, can you give me a hand? Or are you always frying stuff? Because I can pick it up myself if that's the case…"

Drake Riley immediately cuts off the stream when his target begs off, fingers curling into fists. He isn't completely positive the villain will actually be nice, but he's ready to- wait what is that robot doing. Drake gapes as the man is outright tackled. He then bursts into laughter. "Ohhhh, /son/! You just got flattened! Hahah!"

Despite still being on edge, Drake is grinning widely as he makes his way over. "Nah, I'm not constantly shocking things. That's what you mean, right? It's under control." His head tilts to look at the older man(?), and he once again pinches the corner of his shades to tug down a bit. "So, what, did Grandpa escape Satan's retirement community?" He doesn't make a move on the older gent just yet - partially because he doesn't really want to touch. Something about amorphous people weirds him out.

"Yeah," the robot says. "That's what I mean. I'm not really a fan of electrical surges, if my whole 'look' doesn't give that away." Pushing itself to a sitting position, the robot remains on top of the unconscious man. Putting its good elbow on its knee, the robot leans forward, resting its head in its hand.

"Don't worry about this creep. Just some academic politics playing out." The robot stares up at Drake. "I know, right? I didn't think I'd be doing this with my life, either. It won't get any less weird when I tell you that it's imperative I carry ol' Sven here into that wig shop." The robot points to a storefront just barely visible at the corner of a narrow side street.

"I can do the heavy lifting, but I don't want to have to wait on a replacement hand. So if you can hook that up for me, it'd be fantastic. With any luck, too, our boy here won't wake up until the Chief can get him set up properly…"

"I figured that was the case," Drake nods. "Also, sidenote? Holy frig', you're a robot-guy. That's crazy."

The explanation offered on the older man gets a nonplused look first sent to the robot, then to the man, then to the storefront. No, Drake doesn't get it. But it sounds like the robot knows what he's talking about, and he's getting to help, so he's on board. The mention of a replacement hand jumpstarts Drake's memory, however. "Oh! Hang on!"

Drake is off in a flash to find the errant arm. Thankfully that shouldn't take long, given it's bright, gleaming sheen. And once he has it, he's trotting back with a triumphant smile. "Gotcha covered, Goldiebolts!"

While Drake collects the ruined forearm, the robot, on its knees, slowly hefts the knocked-out mutating man onto its shoulders in a fireman's carry position before standing.

"Hey, thanks for that," the robot says calmly, beginning to walk calmly toward the wig shop. "The name's Cliff, though." He holds out his good hand to take his other hand. "Besides, 'Goldiebolts' sounds more like a fan-shipping name, and I'm still just working on me right now, you know?"

There's a sound that must be laughter, although it's closer to the sound of a stuttering car engine. "I kid, I kid. That was good work. Hopefully the rest of your day's not so weird - it can really take things over."

As they near the wig shop - whose windows are decorated with '50s kitsch and beehive displays and whose sign reads DANNY'S - the robot gestures with his head toward the door. "Don't suppose you need any new clothes or anything?"

The joke gets another bright laugh from the teen, who seems to just be in high spirits. "Hey, it was the highlight of my day," Drake replies as they walk. "Seriously, I came out here to /be/ something. So if I can use these abilities for that, I'm on board. Besides, are you.. like.. a superhero?" He doesn't know what the alternative would be. Errant appliance? That seems just rude to say, so he's better off holding that thought for now.

The offer of clothing is certainly appealing, though. It's written on what can be seen of his face, and the way it stills him. But where would he even put it? He has a duffelbag he has basic necessities in, but that's stashed daily. Anyone could make off with it if they happened upon it.

Drake removes the shades from his eyes and hangs it on the collar of his unseasonably warm hoodie. "I don't think I'd look right with a Bride of Frankenstein up-do."
"Did the golden robot body not give it away?" Cliff asks, cocking his head at an angle. "In my case, there's nothing else I /could/ be. Let me just say - if you've got the ability to have a normal life, then go for it. Otherwise," he adds, shrugging a shoulder to emphasize the prone man on his shoulders, "you've got to deal with this sort of crap every day."

Cliff opens the wig shop door and turns back to Drake. "Suit yourself. If you're gonna go the superhero route, find comfortable clothes." He manages a thumbs-up while juggling his detached hand. "See you around."

Then, Cliff heads into the shop and promptly disappears.

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