Chapter 1: Kia
I stood silently in the deserted alley. In the depths of my right pocket I clutched the small metal cube that was the whole reason for coming out tonight. Webs of fog obscured my feet, it's misty fingers leaving drops of moisture on the fabric of my cargo pants.
Then, in the distance the sound of footsteps could be and out of the dark came a hooded figure. The person was ratty and small, amber eyes peering out from behind scraggly blonde hair. It was a boy only a little younger than me.
His eyes locked onto me and he halted only a few yards away.
"We makin' a deal?" he asked with a heavy city accent.
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, "Maybe, did you bring the credits?"
The boy frowned but brought out from his pocket his right hand with five black payment cards. I almost sighed at the sight of his hand, all five of his fingers were made of metal. He must have had a run in with that Decepticon doctor. The metal digits were rusty, dented, and scuffed to no end. But I ignored my rising empathy for the kid, this was just business nothing more.
After a moment I turned and fully faced him and removed the cube from my pocket, holding out my left hand for the payment.
In an instant, the boy quickly took back his metal hand and whipped out an alien looking weapon and pointed it at my hooded head. Anger and fear sparking through his face as he did so.
"Really?" I said, raising my hands in surrender, " are we gunna do this the hard way?"
"I need that part, okay, and I am NOT getting screwed!" the boy's voice was steady but his gun hand shook slightly.
I analyzed the situation, it was obvious that he had only brought the gun to scare me off. Just by the fear that I saw and the way he was holding the weapon I could tell that he had never used it before. Why was it that the newbies always thought I was gonna pull a fast one.
"NOW TRON!" I yelled, surprising the kid with the sudden yell.
There was a moment of silence but then from below the fog exploded a small sliver shape that barreled into the blonde boy's face. Sometimes the newbies were right in thinking I would screw them over.
I smirked as my Cybertronian friend scratched at the boy, clasping onto his head with tight, little servos. With a panicked yell the boy jumped back and fired off the weapon with a flick of his wrist.
There was a bright flash and a bang as plasma streaked towards me nearly hit my face. It just missed its mark and burned a hole on the side of my hood instead. I growled, my amusement turning to irritation as the gun went spinning down the alley.
Since the boy was now distracted I swiped the payment cards from where they had fallen onto the ground. With a quick count I saw that the kid had actually brought what I'd asked for the spare part.
"Alright Tron, come on," I gave a quick whistle and the small metal Cybertronian lept from the boy's face and scuttled over to where I was standing, then perched on my shoulder like some odd parrot with glowing red optics.
"You backstabbing piece of shit!" he howled and turned to face me, his eyes going wide.
My hood had a large hole that had been burned through it by the plasma blast, revealing the right side of my face. I couldn't help but laugh as the kid saw the metal and gears that made up that part of my face. He wasn’t the only one what had
“Like you’re one to talk.” I muttered back, tossing my hood aside, now that it was useless.
"You're..." he breathed, his scowl fading.
I nodded, "Like you. Now aren't you forgetting something?"
The boy glanced down and saw the payment cards clutched in my fingers, his anger burning up in his face once again.
"I worked hard for those!" he hissed, balling his hands into fists.
I waited a whole minute in silence as the boy stood across from me, shaking with anger. Then, without a word I tossed the cube that I had in my pocket across the alley. The boy almost didn't catch it, fumbling with his metal fingers.
"Now get before I change my mind." I smirked, half turning to leave.
I sometimes screwed them over...not always.
"Hey...Kia did you see the look on that bum's face? It was priceless!" the little robot on my shoulder laughed, his optics sparkling with glee as we walked between two warehouses.
"Yes Tron, you do your job well every time. You always do," I said back rolling my eyes.
The little bot stood on my shoulder and tapped against my metal cheek, “You put the scare in him too!”
I simply sighed, not wanting to address the fact that the boy had looked at me like I was some freak. Instead I turned down another side street came to a halt besides what seemed to be a plain wall of a warehouse.
With a fist I tapped four time on the side of the warehouse and then waited.
A few seconds later a small hatch opened in the side of the wall, a pair of glinting eyes glaring out at me.
“What do you want?” a snobbish voice croaked.
I rolled my eyes, “You know what I want. I got twenty credits so give me the usual.”
The eyes glanced briefly at the robot on my shoulder but disappeared behind the sliding panel once more. It took a few minutes but there was the sound of scraping metal as the eyes reappeared with a small box.
“That’s less than last time Marv…” I muttered, grabbing the box and peering inside.
A few packets of what seemed to be nuts and dried fruit, five cans of soup, and canteen of water rattled around inside.
“A lot less.”
The eyes on the other side narrowed, “You know it’s getting harder to scrape up this stuff. Now give me my credits!”
I sighed, tucking the small box under my arm before pulling the cards out of my pocket. I held out the credits and like a spider darting out its hole a liver spotted hand came out and snatched them. Then, the panel snapped shut once more leaving Tron and me alone in the alley.
I grumbled to myself but turned to head home, taking another look into the box as Tron peering over my head.
In this day and age most people didn't get to eat like that, they either had to steal; which was punishable by death, beg; which was usually ended with a mugging, or you had to scrounge up whatever you could find in the trash; and that was usually scrap metal.
The most profitable way to get nourishment to sell yourself out to the Decepticons, which was the most common case. But the conditions were awful compared to the work you did or you could sell mechanical parts for cash to whoever could buy them. That was also illegal without a signed permit, which I did not have.
After another moment of resting I looked down at my battered watch, it was almost nine o'clock. Curfew was in five minutes.
'Still have a minute to look for any more merchandise before I have to head back though,' I reasoned to myself and as I came to the end of the alley I glanced down the deserted road.
With a burst of speed I crossed the street and then headed down between two large, abandoned buildings in the city that used to be Washington D.C.
Now it was a shell of its former self, it had been ever since those Decepticons had taken over. It had been ten years since those damn robots had come rampaging from space.
It had just started like any other day, June 13th 2013. The day that the Cons, as they are less formally know, attacked Earth. They came with a force of over a hundred bots plus hundreds more of their smaller minions that had apparently been hiding on the moon. They started by attacking every major city in the world; Tokyo, London, Moscow, Bejing, Washington D.C, New York City, L.A, El Djazair (capital of Algeria), even Sydney Australia. The human race fought hard but they were out powered and unprepared for the invasion that the Decepticons had brought. Even with the added help of the Autobots, who were too few, nothing could prepare the world for what was coming.
Within a week most African Cities fell along with most of South America, then Australia, the UK, and Japan fell, three weeks in China, Russia, and the USA lost the battle, and finally the rest of the world saw the lost cause and surrendered, hoping to lessen the final blow of the aliens.
It ended with all the world's major leaders being killed publically and Megatron declaring himself lord over Earth and to show his 'massive' power he proceeded to enslave hundreds of humans to build what he called a second Cybertron smack dab in the middle of Washington. The remaining Autobots were hunted to extinction. Megatron had put a million credit price on anyone who reported an Autobot.
It's now October 15th, 2023. Now every day is a struggle for most people just to get enough food to live. Everyday people were killed either by starvation or robots. Those who were able to make a living were either killed out of spite or captured for doing something illegal in order to get their money.
I consider myself lucky. Lucky to have lived through the whole ordeal as an eight year old, to now make enough money to get food, and to have a place I can call home.
After walking for a while my bot buddy and I came to a large, dumpster-sized, bin that held tons of metal scrap.
"Alright Tron, let's give it a minute and then we have to book it home 'kay," I instructed.
The little Cybertronian nodded and then lept up into the metal filled bin. I myself grabbed onto the lip of the container and then, with a heave, lifted myself up and sat at the edge. After the minute of siphoning through the scrap I had collected a handful of clean, usable nuts and bolts, two sound modulators, and a clump of copper wire. Tron had come up with only a small microchip and an unbroken optic bulb. It was a small haul but a haul none the less.
Suddenly there was a high pitched siren that sounded across the city, its long eerie peal irritating my ears and causing Tron to whimper, anyone caught outside now was to be arrested and interrogated.
That meant me.
I jumped down to the concrete ground, grabbing Tron, our haul, and stuffing them both into my pockets. Then, I bolted down the alleyway between two buildings. Immediately, the street lights started flicking off, leaving and inky blackness behind as the siren faded and died.
"CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! CRAP!" I muttered as I dashed through the streets, keeping an ear out for any patrols.
I ducked through every short cut, side street, and secret passage that knew.
Finally I made it to the main street, the last thing that separated myself from the small warehouse that I called home. There was only one problem, a large metal cat patrolled the street, his red optics looking for anything to attack.
"Whadda we do Kia!" Tron whispered into my ear, I could feel his shaking against my neck.
I thought for a moment, going through different scenarios, plans, and their percent chance for workings. Finally, I spotted the man hole on the other side of the street, hidden by the shadow of the building. Then I glanced down and saw the same right next to my foot.
"I have a plan."
In an abandoned warehouse sat a lone Cybertronian. His red and blue paint faded and worn from the many battles he had weathered. He sat there, half in a recharging state as the sounds of banging metal went off in the distance.
The bot's face was partly hidden in shadow but you could see the glow of one bright blue optic, but where the other one was supposed to be was just a ghastly black hole of shredded wire and broken metal parts.
There was a sudden tap, tap, tap on the large metal door of the warehouse. Without an answer the door slid open with a squeak. There stood a slightly smaller bot, his yellow paint almost gold in the moon light.
"What do you want?" the larger Cybertronian asked, his deep voice low and mournful.
"Just checkin…on a…ol' friend," the other bot's broken voice sounded like static, as if coming from a radio.
"I am no friend to any Autobot. Just a disgrace," the red and blue bot replied, turning his face away, trying to dissuade the visitor away.
With a sad moan the yellow robot looked at the fellow Cybertronian, his processor churning to find a way to try and talk.
"My friend this life we live, it's not what we have. It's what we believe!" a clip of a song came on through the radio and echoed dimly in the warehouse.
With a whir the yellow bot turned it off and gazed at the red and blue Cybertronian. The silence seemed to be deafening in the large space until the yellow bot turned to leave.
He slid the door closed with a hollow boom, leaving the warehouse in darkness.
"If only I could believe that," the large bot closed his one eye and then was yet again lost in his memories. The past hurting him even more than the present.