Roleplayed by TheLupineOne and EddieHaskell
Edited by TheLupineOne with assistance from EddieHaskell
Danny and Reed. Two longtime friends from their formative years, but beyond that, they hardly saw each other as employment took them their seperate ways. Sure, they communicated via digital machines, but they never got the chance to spend a good long amount of time together like they used to... until a few days ago, where the duo organised an excursion around the north of the country. Taking the train from town to town, seeing the sights and experiencing the surprises on offer. It wasn't that planned-out, aside from the route they took, and they took the attractions in their stride.
"This is pretty exciting! Just going to new museums you stumble upon on your travels..." exclaimed an excited Danny, approaching a museum that was, by the looks of the queue to enter, somewhat popular.
"Well, when you're older at least. I figure 15 years ago I'd be complaining to go home. Now, on the other hand..." replied a nostalgic Reed. Danny tilted his head up as the two entered the queue, reading the signage.
"The Musuem of Mechanical Engineering... sounds pretty grand!"
"I think that'll be better than seeing a bunch of paintings too! I Love seeing stuff like old cars."
"Heh, I like heavy machinery and steam engines." It seemed like Danny and Reed had struck gold when it came to tourism. Reed's excitement at this lucky find was palpable.
"This should turn out very interesting. Who knows, maybe they'll have something we haven't even thought of. Like some sort of prototype flying machine or subway from the 1800s."
"They sound rather fantastical ideas, Reed", replied Danny, although he held some hope that something unusual and awe-inspiring might be held inside. They paid their entrance fees, claimed their tickets, and stepped inside.
"Well... here we are, then!" announced a pleased Danny, observing a grand mechanical computer, the centrepiece of the museum, the first grand sight for all visitors to see.
"Whoa! I bet that could process SOOOOO many kilobytes of data per day!" Reed snickered at his own terrible joke; Danny just rolled his eyes.
"Yes, things have moved on, but it's good to look back and escape modernity sometimes."
"Oh absolutely. That's actually really cool to see." Reed circled around the ancient computer, observing the intricate machine.
"You see modern things every day. That's why I'm more interested in more historical exhibits." Danny pulled out a pamphlet from a shelf affixed to a wall, while Reed moved on to inspect a translucent case, weighing up a few of the odd trinkets and handheld devices on display and expressing his interest.
"You like these? There should be more of this deeper in the museum." Danny sidled up alongside Reed, taking a look for himself.
"You have a map... which way do you think we should go?"
"Hmm... How about 'Wonders of the Steam Age'? Right turn then left."
"That should be good. That tech always was pretty innovative... and inspiring!" They set off, Danny glancing to the map occasionally but more focused on the exhibits, in these halls of ancient, fascinating mechanics, the reflections of light off the brass illuminating the museum. It was incredible how things that were both intricate and immemorial still held up now. One of the major exhibits in this area displayed the innards of steam trains dissected, demonstrating the powers of coal fired technology.
"How did they even manage to power all this with water and steam? That's just crazy...", wondered an awed Reed. Deeper into the museum they pressed, into the quiet recesses at the back of the building. Small wonder that this area was absent: the large case for major display in this room was empty, seemingly reserved for an upcoming exhibition.
"Hmm? What's supposed to go here?" asked Reed, giving the empty stand a measured look.
"Seems they're trying to acquire some new exhibit from afar", said Danny, finding a laminated piece of card stuck to a small plinth next to the display. "'The Shepherd Republic'? Where's that?"
"Ireland maybe? They still do plenty of sheep herding there, right?" wondered Reed, as Danny continued to circle the area. The room didn't have that many sights to see in all. There was still plenty of spare space for exhibits. Maybe this was a special exhibition room that was still being set up? Were they even supposed to be here? Danny did, however, find one intriguing artefact in the room, hiding behind a corner. Reed turned his head around, in response to his friend's intrigued response.
"What is it?"
"Come over and take a look!" Danny beckoned Reed over, to view...
"Uhhh? A steam-era veding machine?"
Danny hummed. There was a slot in the machine, labelled "250 Ring". Ring? What could that mean? Maybe it was the make or model of the machine. Danny put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a pound coin, and contemplated inserting it.
"Seems like this could benefit the museum, if it's set up to accept modern coins."
"Oh yeah? So you don't have to spend £4 for water at their gift store?" Reed guffawed, on a roll with his little jokes, but it fell flat on Danny, who was more concerned that there weren't any evident options for selecting something for the machine to dispense. The best bet was to just insert the coin and see what came out. Through the slot went the coin, rattle-rattle-rattle went the machine, and clunk went the sound of something being deposited into a tray at the bottom of the machine. Danny reached in, pulling out something red, warm, and glowing. Danny tilted his head in confusion. "What's this?"
"Hey, that doesn't look like a can of cola... is that even a can?" Reed watched his friend inspect the object carefully, seeking out any clues to its identity, reading some text embossed on the side. "What does it say?"
"It says... 'Attack +5'?"
"Pardon? That sounds like something that would come from a video game RPG rather than a steam era machine. Why would a vending machine serve warm stuff, anyway?"
"It's possibly a trinket, but it doesn't really fit the steam scene. I guess you could try putting it on a string and wearing it as a pendant..."
"Heh, I wouldn't mind taking it and putting it with all my other game stuff at home later."
Their conversation was cut however, as the object's glow intensified with a pulse, and Danny let out a shocked exclaimation as it warmed up in his hands... towards an unbearable heat! He tossed it between his hands, shouting "Hot! Hot!".
"Yikes! What's happening with that thing? It's, like, red hot!", cried Reed, looking for a fire extinguisher. With an errant toss, Danny threw it into his chest, but instead of leaving a burn, it just stuck there... Reed's eyes widened in panic, and demanded his friend tell him if he was feeling okay.
"Hurf... I think not..." Danny felt a heavy feeling on his chest... the trinket was slowly sinking into his body!
"Ack!", screamed Reed. "Here... lemme just..." Reed tried pulling at the trinket, but reeled back and cursed as his fingers were scalded by the still hot object as it dug into Danny's chest, leaving a tunnel lined with... not flesh, but glowing wires and metal. Reed yelped at the sight, while Danny emitted heavy breaths, gasping as the hot pain buried to his centre.
"Oh God... Danny? Are you okay? Hang in there, mate", dithered Reed. Danny clutched his chest, still painful inside, as the hole burned into it sealed up, again, not with flesh, but with red painted metal. Reed could only express shock and panic. "What in the Hell?", shouted the troubled tourist, as his exhausted friend began shortening, his body seeming to swell as well.
"Gyah! Dan! What's happening?!" Reed poked at the metal piece in the place where the trinket made contact, looking for some opening to try and get it out of Danny. A dull clink reverberated through his body. Within, the device seemed to be converting the surrounding organs into metal and technology, evidence of the changes visible from outside. Reed gasped at the sight. "Dan? Dan! Oh, Dan! What's happening to you?! Respond!" Danny tried to, yet the metallic conversion seemed to block his ability to speak. The rate of his shortening and swelling started to speed up, and all Reed could do was curse and fearfully retreat slowly.
The clothes Danny was wearing began to tear away, revealling that the red metal that formed on his chest had grown into a large panel, around which the metal conversion was spreading even further. As much as he was changing on the outside, he was changing even more within, where the trinket was now encased inside a large rumbling box, embossed with the words "Custom Panel". Reed shook, unable to explain the sight of his friend's plight, as he grew rounder and firmer, mechanics spreading inside, metal spreading outside, coating around the body... could... could he be becoming a MECH?!
Danny crouched his legs, weighed down by the mechanical body, some things starting to emerge from his back. Unable to respond to his friend's anguish, he just panted, a harsh, cold, inhuman pant. Reed cautiously approached his still mechanizing friend, questioning this latest growth. "I... don't even... what?" Bulbous, metalised, red and white-bodied, Danny wheezed as his neck swelled, two exhaust pipes emerging from his lower back. It looked to Reed like his fate was sealed... "Oh-- Oh... Are you still with me Dan?! Can you hear me?" This time, he didn't even respond, not even a breath; he just hunched forward as a seat started to emerge from his back. Reed backed in surprise at this latest emergence. "Wait... someone's supposed to sit there?" Gold plating appeared around the mech's "neck", and a handle for the pilot formed at the upper back. It was getting so hard for the still-fleshy legs to support such weight, and, against his better judgement, Reed hoped that those would mechanise next, or else they would be shattered. He couldn't bear to see his friend suffer such a gory fate.
Finally, Danny's torso, legs and forearms started to firm up. Reed showed relief, but also remained worried about the outcome. A tailfin emerged from the solid metal torso, and his arms stretched out, the transformation gradually spreading down from his shoulders. Longer, wider, flatter, stretching, curving, stiffening. Reed's worry became horror as he contemplated what little humanity remained in his friend, and the expression on the machine's still-human face, seeming to shift towards neutrality. He observed the arms, joined to his thick neck, where exposed gears and machinery were visible, allowing him to see the transformation spread upwards. The stretching arms seemed to break into segments, gaining some articulation.
"Oh, ouch... that has to hurt... Dan... you'd better be okay..."
Dan's head slowly reshaped, as his arms, clad in red metal, seperated into jointed segments, connected by complex brass joints. Even more machinery could be seen, as fins slid out from each arm segment. His legs reshaped too, becoming short, thick, rigid, jointed at the knees. Reed found himself drawn to the mech for some reason now... though, this was his friend, still. He reached out and put his hand on the side of his solid chest plate, murmuring "There's gotta be some way to reverse this..." The former man's hands swelled, all angular, mechanical, jointed. His shoes became metal and grew anuglar too. Lacking any feeling or emotion, his face grew a metallic, somewhat draconic snout. No part of this mechanical being resembled Reed's friend anymore...
Reed could hear the gears cranking and machinery creaking inside his friend's new form, feeling that Danny's changes were nearing their end. Two hornlike fins slid from the back of the mech's head. Lights shone and dimmed repeatedly. Then... it started to move, joint by joint. Reed backed away suddenly as it judded to life, exclaiming "It's moving?!" The robot started to rumble, booting up. It lurched on all fours, its arms and legs whirring as it rushed to the empty display case, leaped and smashed into it, and took its place there. Reed just blinked and stared in silence, only the thrum of distant machinery audible.
"I... w... what just... I... uhhh?" He noticed that the note affixed to the display, apologising for the absence of any exhibit, had been torn up by the shards of broken case.
"I... is that... supposed to be the new display?" Reed scraped away the shreds of card, and read the text on the once-obscured panel. "DAHAK-AZI03. Robo used in the Shepherd Republic. Recently recovered and restored by the museum... woah... this can't be possible..." The robo moved an arm, flexing its jointed hand, waving its finger... trying to beckon Reed? He waved hesitantly, as the robo repeated its arm movements.
"Okay, Danny, we're going home. You'd better not stay here." Reed leapt onto the stand and tried to push at his friend, trying to get him to move off the plinth, but it was just too heavy to even budge. He snarled through gritted teeth as his feet slid on the stand's surface, the robo's head twisting round to observe the man pushing at its rear.
"Hellooooo! Home! We gotta go home! You listening Dan? You're not supposed to be here! Or... a robot!"
No response. This robot was... in its place in the museum, and it seemed that had no intention of leaving it.
"Hey? Hey? Uhhh... Dahak! You hear me?" The robot responded to this, though, and started the beckoning movement again. "What do you want me to do?", asked Reed, looking up at the seat built into the mech's back. "You want me to... pilot you?" It seemed that was the case, as... DAHAK... nodded slowly. Reed nodded back with resignation, and tried climbing up one of its mechanical arms, wondering just what act his friend was pulling. He peered into the cockpit... it seemed to be roomy enough for him, but inside, there was a glint within that caught his eye.
"Huh? What's that?" Reed clambered over and tumbled inside, falling to the floor and getting a good view at what was stowed in the cockpit.
"Hello, how did this get here...?"
It was a long sword, red in the centre, thickly edged in silver. Despite its size, it still seemed managable in one hand. Reed pushed himself to his feet and pulled the sword off the floor, holding it upwards, albeit slightly awkwardly. It was very well polished, reflecting the illuminations of the musuem lighting. No wonder its glimmer was clear within the depths of the cockpit.
"Wow...that is a very well constructed sw... hang on, is that a revolver?"
The distraction of seeing what looked like a brassy gun inside the cockpit caused Reed to drop the sword with a clatter, the noise of the durable blade bringing him to senses.
"Gyah! What is going on? What am I even doing here?! I'm out! We're out!" He tried to leave the cockpit but DAHAK moved its arms in panic, shaking about, not wanting its pilot to leave just yet. The sudden movement forced Reed back into his seat with a grunt, and flipped the revolver and sword up into the air. "Gah! Hey! Watch it! That's an actual sword, Dan!" Reed gripped the hilt of the sword to stop it from clanging about the cockpit, but this time, the feeling of touch felt a little different, as if the sword was a bit more distant from the skin of his hands.
"H... uhhh?" Reed slowly pulled the blade closer, viewing the hand holding the hilt. Curiously, it was cloaked in brown leather... a leather glove.
"Huh? Whose hand is thi..." He willed himself to flex his fingers, and those in the glove followed suit. Reed gulped; no wonder the feeling of the hilt was a bit fuzzy. In fact, it felt quite comfortable flexing those fingers in the gloves... suddenly he realised that both his hands had instantly became gloved!
"Wait... where did I get... oh no... changing? I'm not going to turn into a robot too am I?!" Reed dropped the sword and tried to bolt again, but was interrupted by a sensation within him. A change, yes, though it was not a stiffening... but possibly an increase in nimbleness? He groaned as he felt under his shirt, crying "Not me too... not me too!" It may or may not have been the gloves but the feeling was different... softer. With sickened curiosity, Reed pulled off one of his gloves, to reveal...
A paw. A canine paw, pads and all, coated in ginger fur that had overcame his skin and was making its way up his arm; and his other arm was affected too: fur had already peeked out from past the glove on his other hand. Through the shock of that sight, Reed fell back into the cockpit's seat once more, head reeling, body shivering, and clothes quivering... quivering, and shifting. Every fibre of his red shirt and blue jeans was shifting, spreading, reforming into something else. Reed shook as he felt the clothing's confusing conversion, and turned his head as a thick, but ragged, red cape flop onto his back.
"Okay, that's... actually kind of neat", said Reed, shakily, acknowledging the cape, connected to some short shirt-like garment edged with plush white fluff, covering a long sleeved top in various tones of blue. "B-but what's happened to all of my clothes!?" They were completely unrecognisable, save for the red and blue colours that remained, but they were set to be joined by more. Reed felt a heaviness on his chest, as a round emerald plate surrounded by gold formed on the front of the red garment. His shifting trousers altered at a rear, a hole forming, and a ginger tail emerging from it.
"Erk? A tail?! What?" Reed felt the wrenching of the tail's growth, and flicked it this way and that in panic. An odd pulling feeling in his lower legs alerted Reed to look down, and he gazed at his legs shifting into a digitigrade, canid stance, exposed due to his trousers shortening and altering. The changing chap winced at the tightness of his feet in his shoes, though they soon started to reform to better fit his new paws. His new shorts were getting sort of baggy. He scratched his neck as the fur fluffed out of his clothing and up to his head, causing Reed to feel a cross between irritation and ticklishness, and emotions between fear and fascination. The shoes had become boots that enveloped more of his legs, feeling really firm and solid; his paws could sense leather and metal. Suddenly, he realised he was still holding the sword, but couldn't bring himself to let it go. Was this like that trinket Danny had? Was this doing this to him?
The transformation had no let up. Giant iron screw heads formed on the boots below Reed's knees, tightening and sealing his paws within them, the brass guards upon his toes safely protecting them. The fur continued to rise, his mouth and nose stretching out a bit as they too were consumed by ginger. Reed grunted and panted, feeling his face with an ungloved paw, seeing the muzzle between his eyes, and tapping at his boots, wondering if there was no way to remove them now. He felt his teeth sharpen in his wide muzzle, as the fur still continued to spread. His ears twitched, moving upwards through his hair, getting pointier and furrier, more perceptive to the sounds of machinery, growing in volume, and, curiously, familiarity...
"Huh?... A... a dog? Am I a dog?" Something in his mind told him he was half right... and half wrong... wait... what... what was a... dog... anyway? Reed blinked at those muddled thoughts. "What kind of... dog?" Dog... why did that word confuse him now? What was he? A multitude of fuzzy feelings layered up inside, and on top of, his head, his hair growing brown and scruffy, topped by a comfortable flapped red hat, with special covered holes for his ears. There were even some brass flight goggles too, perched on top above the hair that had grew from beneath the cap's edge. Reed grew even more confused by the second, absentmindedly adjusting his goggles as if he was preparing for action.
"Erf... ma tête..." Reed's words shifted from English to French, although the term 'French' had no bearing to him... it felt... natural to him... "Huh? Where am I?" He shook his head, feeling groggy, his vision blurring, losing sight of his surroundings as they changed around him. The robot's plinth sank into the floor as the carpet hardened to metal, the very shape and purpose of the room chaging, no longer an exhibit room in a museum, but a docking room in an airship...
"Red! DAHAK! You've returned!", said a cute sounding voice, though it seemed rather distant. The ginger dog, or rather, caninu, stumbled, taking a look down from his mech.
A pink caninu, of a different subspecies to the one in the mech, entered the room, offering a cheery "Heya Red!" Reed, or as he was now, Red, seemed to feel very happy at the sight of her, and waved with a grin, starting to perk up. He... he knew who she was!
"Chocolat! Good to see you again!"
"And you, Red!"
Red, now full of life, hopped off DAHAK and met with her face to face, paws on his hips. "So what have you been doing while I was in town?"
"Just doing checks on the Asmodeus, routine stuff... our home must be ship shape, brother!"
Red put a brotherly hand on her head; they may not be blood related but that didn't matter to him. "Good work, sis!"
Chocolat blushed happily. "As always, Red."
"I'm gonna go park Dahak in here, and then... how about some dinner? I'm starving!"
"Sure thing!", replied Chocolat perkily. "Although I'm sure that you get enough sustenance from chewing that bone all the time." She gave a youthful giggle, as Red sunk his head, displaying an expression of certain embarassment.
"H-hey, it's not as if its any kind of food..."
Fresh from another day doing jobs from the hunters' guild, Red Savarin commanded his mech to stroll back to its dock. It was hard work, but it paid well, and to be able to spend time with his sister was just as great a reward. How he relished life!