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By Another Name - Chapter 1
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Drakue
Drakue's Gallery (34)

By Another Name - Chapter 2

Fuzzy Moordock ref sheet (Commissioned)
ban-chapter2.rtf
Keywords male 683007, female 561864, bear 25891, lizard 13236, action 2498, drama 2341, future 804, tech 264, canon 248, sorrow 225, excitement 184, hacker 111, dystopian 10
By Another Name
Error II: Process Unavailable



 "I don't know why I even visit home," he said aloud, too down in spirit to care of his assistant's listening. "It's not my home. Not anymore."

"On The Contrary," Kanto bleeped, in his chipper, annoyingly calm voice. "My Records Show That--"

"Fuck your records, Kanto!" Jasper exclaimed, clenching his fists. Nearby windows and citizen's blue lights flickered for a moment. A few people paused, tapped the sides of their heads, and then like an army of ghosts, continued their mindless wandering. "None, I Have Detected--"

"You don't get it, do you Kanto?" He wasn't about to let some MACHINE interrupt him. It had to be said, and if he didn't let it out now, he'd end up S.D.

"She died for NOTHING!"

Suddenly, and for the first time since he was born, Jasper looked up and saw the stars. He couldn't believe it. He was standing there, in pitch blackness - no glowing street lamps, no harsh light pollution from nearby benches, no advertisements or personal assistant lights... just the raw, unimaginable force of the cosmos, beaming directly down upon him.

...And every other very, very confused person on the streets. The reality of the situation finally hitting him, Jasper took a glance around. His eyes were still trying to focus, and everything was blurry - but what he did catch was the unmistakable stench of panic. "Uh... Kanto?"

Almost out of habit, he tapped the side of his face. No light came on to illuminate the situation, and as he began to understand why his personal assistant wasn't there anymore, he was knocked to the ground by a dark figure running amongst the crowded streets. He hit the ground hard. The stars were all he could see, but now they were very blurry... and growing darker... and...

"K..kanto?.."

Blackness finally found him. He passed out, and felt a solemn feeling of loneliness for a reason he didn't totally understand. Dreams of electric people haunted him, and a soft voice echoing from an empty, dilapidated building called out his name... his real name. When he found himself standing again, it was in a city of shadows. Every time he took a step, the shadows grew larger, and stretched farther away from his footfalls. He called out, but his voice echoed away, dwindling into nothingness without a reply or call back. He was alone, completely, utterly, and--

"...And Totally Unsuspecting. The Citizens Of Orizis Street Still Have Not Fully Recovered From The Suspected Terrorist Attack."

Jasper raised his head with a grunt. "Uugh... what happened?" he asked, without thinking about it. He appeared to be in his bedroom again, and the news was streaming across one wall--

"You Were Knocked Unconscious By A Confused Citizen During The Unregistered Blackout, None." That voice was still annoying. Waving his claw at the screen to shut it off, Jasper unsteadily sat up and put his legs over the edge of the bed. "Thanks for the update." he said sarcastically.

"You're very welcome, big brother."
For a horrifying moment, he sat there, staring at the floor. "Wh... what did you just call me?"

"I Said You Are Welcome, None. Would You Like Me To Change It To Something More Suitable?"
Stupid dreams. Jasper sighed one of relief, and stood up. "...None is fine, Kanto. I don't want to be known by any other name. At least, not by the likes of you."

"You Should Not Be Such A Technophobe, None." Kanto said. If Jasper didn't know any better, he could have sworn that there was a hint of passive-aggression in that voice. That's what having an A.I.A will do to you, he thought as he rubbed the temples of his eyes. They get under your skin from birth, literally. Sooner or later, you start humanizing them...

"So what caused the blackout?" he asked, trying to get his mind back on track. He certainly hadn't heard of any other 'unregulated blackouts', which were usually an R-RAM movement member getting a little too familiar with the main power grid of the city, often paying the ultimate price.

"My Universal Computing Communications Networking Processor Is Currently Not Operational, None. I Apologise For The Inconvenience." That's odd, Jasper thought to himself. So... technically he was off the grid, even WITH his A.I.A still talking. He filed that under 'probably important later'.

"Kanto, how did I end up here?"

"Your Mother Became Worried About You And Carried You Back Home."
Ugh, fantastic. He'd have her grinning coyly and making jokes about him being 'just like when you were a hatchling'. Deciding it better to face the music than let it pound on the inside of his head, Jasper opened his bedroom door and headed down the stairs, where his mother was just turning the corner of the living room.

"Hey there sweetie. How's your head?" She asked in a caring, if slightly-too-sweet-to-be-sincere tone. Putting his claws against the side of his head again and trying to rub away the residual pain, Jasper nodded. "I'm fine, it was just... disorientating."

"Well, as soon as I heard about it on the wall, I came right out to find you." Ranath began. "It was just like when you were a hatchling, always running away and getting into mischief..."  She saw the look on Jasper's face and chuckled softly.

"Your father wants to see you, now that you're up."

"Tell him I'm not--"

"Not What?" A perfect voice from up the stairs interrupted. Jasper sighed and turned around, putting on his best false smile. He couldn't look at what was slowly descending the stairway with a real one, not anymore.

"Hey, George. How's work 'n stuff?" Jasper said, looking away. The eyes were the real problem...

'George' chuckled a perfectly timed chuckle, and stopped exactly one step above his son. His claws were filed down to stumps and hadn't grown in years, his skin was peeling in places and the one horn he still had was only held together by the wedding ring.

"I'm Good, Son. How Are You?"

Jasper had no choice. He had to look this... thing in the eyes, if only for a moment. He did so, with his look-at-me-I'm-so-content smile and shrugged. "I'm fine, thank you very much. I was just heading out to work, since it's morning and all."

Despite it being the dead of night, 'George' after a moment's pause nodded, and turned to head back upstairs. "I'd Better Get Myself Up, Then!"

Jasper shuddered, and turned to his mother. She had a hopeful, if sorrowful smile on her face. "Thank you. You know it means a lot to me."

Pushing past her and grabbing his once-again-hung-up belt, Jasper headed out the door once more. He called over his shoulder quiet enough for only her to hear, before heading off into the neon darkness.

"Mom, next time please get him some new eyes. Those goat rettenas are freaking me the fuck out."
Policing drones hovered overhead as Jasper made his way down the busy street. The blackout had caused quite the conversation across the networks - he could tell just from the general noise. People were speaking hurriedly about their experience, and no doubt the horror of being 'unplugged' for a short time.

"Kanto." Jasper muttered as he made his way into the more industrial area, the slightly lower light levels helping his eyes to focus.

"Yes, None?"

"Are you reconnected yet?"

"Not Yet, None. There Is An Interfering Signal." Figures, the lizard thought, walking slightly faster to escape the crowded streets. He made his way a few miles down the same stretch of road, and watched as it gradually changed from bright, clean city life, to dusty and unkept plastic paving slabs under his worn footwear.

Not many came out this way, and those who did often found themselves heading toward the city at one time or another - like the centre of a desert, it seemed to suck all life toward it indiscriminately.

Less could be said for the second-rate security drone hovering overhead.

Jasper stopped dead in his tracks and looked directly upward, the spherical mesh of wires and antennas stopping it's progress down the same street straight above him. He squinted, noting a few tiny pins along it's base turning and reconfiguring, no doubt identifying who he was and reporting back to--

A loud clang sounded across the empty buildings around him. "Get out of here, unless you want another one!" he yelled, pelting another random quarter-brick upward with spot-on accuracy.

The drone wobbled slightly, the second piece of brick denting it's side armour as it drifted off-course. It paused mid-descent and beeped a few times before turning around and heading back to the city.

"That's what I thought." Jasper muttered, straightening out his jacketed robes as he continued on his path.

"None, That Was Illegal." Kanto pointed out, trying and failing to light up the side of the boy's face. "Yes, Kanto, but as you said, there's an interfering signal. By the time it gets back home, some mild vandalism won't be anything of note."

"Are You Suggesting Committing A Larger Crime, None?"

Jasper paused, thinking things through. A light breeze blew through the dilapidated streets, and he breathed in the slightly fresher air from across the nearby abandoned metal works and smiled. "Don't be silly, Kanto, that would be illegal."

 
He continued walking until the bustle of the city streets was clear from his head. There wasn't much light out here, but Kanto automatically lit the road in front of him. As he began approaching the end of the road with a large, hulking mass of a steel building in front of him, he paused.

"Seven psychopaths simultaneously sans surreptitiously order a side of frozen fog." He recited from memory.

The blue light slowly turned to red, and Diz's voice was heard over the low-quality coms. "Jeez, kid, pick a better time why don't ya..."

A scuffling sound on the other end of the line made Jasper grin. He knew enough about Diz's habits to coincidentally and 'mistakenly' awkward in timing his calls. "Let the kid go, Diz. I need you to run a biopsy."

A soft, young voice was heard on the other end, followed by the gruff bear muttering. "Y-yeah, just... chill out over there for a bit, make yourself comfortable, cutie. I've got an important call."

Jasper waited in the cool air, enjoying being able to see the stars once more. He stared up at the building, mostly made of cylinders and pipes that were once used for some unknown industrial use. "Is he gone yet?" He asked, still grinning.

"I'll have you know that this boy came to me seein' if I could remove his I.A.S." Diz said grumpily. "'s not my fault the 'lil cutie wanted somethin' more..."

Jasper allowed himself a soft chuckle. "Sure, Diz, sure. So can you do it or not?"

"Well that depends," the bear said curiously, his typing audible from Jasper's side. "What kinda biopsy are we lookin' for here?"

"It's an old guy." The lizard said, his smile fading as he kicked over a rock. "Name of George, family number eight-three-niner."

There was a pause for a moment. "Listen, kid... you know I'd do anythin' for ya, but you've asked me to wipe this guy a hundred times now. It used to be every month, but now it's every week... why're you keepin' what's left of the old feller alive?"

Having picked up the kicked rock, Jasper threw it as far as he could into the endlessly flowing iron pipes and rusted gears of the ancient machine-building. "Just do it, Diz." He said simply.

"Listen, boy, I 'aint your personal data retrieving system, y'hear? Every time I do this, we both risk the entire movement." The bear said back with a tempered tone. It was true; if any city ordinance suspected Diz of being an R-RAM member, let alone the technical leader, he'd be seeing the inside of the SD unit faster than the speed of light.

Jasper looked out across the city, above it's building-scattered skyline, to a dark patch on the other side. He knew it was there; the building he visited, and that nobody else would. It hid in his memories like a trojan virus, and the only way keep it there was to do anything he could, to the best of his abilities.

"I don't break promises."

"None, if this is about her again... look, just let the guy die already. None of us are immortal, and you've gotta just acc--"

"I do not break promises."

With a resolved sigh and the taps of a long-since outdated keyboard, Jasper heard the bear get to work. That was that, then, at least until he needed it again.

"Anythin' else, your highness?"

"Just keep yourself safe, Diz, that's all I can ask."

"Huh, yeah, you and us both, scaley butt."

With a finalist tap of the side of his head, Jasper watched the blue light flood back into his world. He couldn't let her down, not after what he'd promised. Not after everything he'd been through since the 'accident'.

"I Apologise, None, My System Temporarily Faulted."

"Sure." Jasper said with a melancholy tone. He continued to sit there on that raised bit of land, throwing rocks and other light debris into the hulking masses of iron and steel jutting out of the landscape. Be it here or in a city full of people, he felt alone - right down to his core. Seeing his parents hadn't helped, but had only served as a reminder of what he had lost. Normally he'd be all up for more hijinx, be they sneaking parcels into the Siri building, or hacking into people's contact cameras to see what they were doing when they thought they were alone, but not today.

As the sun bleached the sky of all star-scape, he sighed and held his head in his claws. Any day but today, he could be happy. He could be carefree, but what'd been plaguing his mind since he first woke up so long ago was that small server room on the fifth floor of that now-derelict building. The place in which it'd happened.

The place he'd lost his sister forever.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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by Drakue
By Another Name - Chapter 1
Last in pool
The next installment. Maybe it's a bit longer than the last, but oh well. :3

Keywords
male 683,007, female 561,864, bear 25,891, lizard 13,236, action 2,498, drama 2,341, future 804, tech 264, canon 248, sorrow 225, excitement 184, hacker 111, dystopian 10
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 4 years, 10 months ago
Rating: General

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