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A Ghost In The Machine

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A blue sky and a the kind sun beaming down on the rolling grassy hills are what Silas could consider a normal day on the farm. Peace and tranquility was bountiful, even during days of hard labor. It only made the end result more satisfying when he got to put his feet up and toe off his heavy working boots. It was a simple life, no complications really besides the uncertainty of how well the crops would grow during the off seasons. He thinks he could be happy just spending the rest of his days doing this. Sure, it wasn't anything special, but he made things happen with his own two hands, had food and a home, and most importantly, a family who loved him. 

But, just maybe, the smallest part of him wanted something more than this.

Back to the crowded streets and the activity. It was busy, it was more than a little stressful, but it was memorable. He can recall doing the odd job here and there like a mercenary for hire. It wasn't incredibly easy getting work because of the way he looks, but the people that gave him jobs were always memorable. Especially the situation he stumbled into accidentally, becoming a bodyguard of what seemed to be a kid, a noble at that. Those days he can recall with vivid sparks of colour, running on the pavement harshly, chasing after criminals, and shielding the young man that seemed to embrace trouble like a lover. Eventually, like he always did, he had to move on in his travels.

Days on the farm blur by, the same day in and day out motions of labor not giving him any sort of purpose other than to simply continue the grind. He could be happy here, he forcefully thinks this every day. He also knows that if he were a little braver though, that maybe he'd step out once more to follow the wind of adventure. It was mainly his looks and health that lead him into wishing for a more peaceful life. He remembers a time when all he had wanted was to feel content, and at peace, to not be judged and to be happy.

And now, where he can finally have this, he can't decide why he even wanted it in the first place.

So when Silas steps outside and sees the greyness of the sky and feels the smallest chill of approaching rain, he can feel something turn in his gut. The familiar feeling of anticipation.

Something would change today.

He trudges along the dirt path, gravel crunching under his feet as he moves to the rusted silver mailbox at the front of the fence. There's a pristine envelope inside free of the dirt and mess that usually comes with the farm life. It's silver in colour, the smallest of glitters embedded into it making it look like snow when he pulls it out of the mailbox and into the sunlight. He flips it over, eyes the crest melted into the seal of the royal blue wax and promptly flips the letter back over with energized expectancy. In a similar royal blue ink, he eyes the delicate cursive scrawl of his own name on the from. His eyes swivel over to the sender and he can't help but exhale out a chuckle.

Fain Locke's name stares back at him like a call of the siren luring him back into a life he's so missed. 

He wastes no time taking the letter out and reading its contents:

Dear Silas,

I trust you are well. I do hope farm life is giving you the proper rest and peace you deserve and desire.

I also hope however, that it might not be treating you as nice in the hopes that you would be swayed to come assist me in the city of Cradle. To put it shortly, I would like to hire you for your previous services and aid. There is dissent in the city concerning the automated security system agents and I write to you today because I know you are a person I can put my trust and safety in. I have been assigned a very important task related to the safety of the city itself. I do wish I could explain in more detail but if I have caught your attention in such a way, we may converse more about such matters later.

If you are partial to being hired, I truly would appreciate your presence. Please arrive at your at your soonest convenience. I have provided a temporary C.A.R.D. inside along with travel finances to properly fund anything you might need. After you prepare your things, simply tap upon the wax crest at the end of this letter three times and transportation will be sent to pick you up. Should you wish not to join me in this endeavor, I insist you keep the payment either way and give your family my regards.


Fain Locke

P.S. Are the badgers on the farm giving you much trouble? I surely hope not, I hear they can be quite a nuisance if not taken care of quickly for the crops. Do be careful about where you tread.



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The fields during this time of year were gold and shining with corn blooming like the dickens to the east, while the west fields were owned by waves of wheat. Silas would often watch the sunrise and reflect off the surface of the fields like a glimmering ocean; All he saw in those momentary fragments of bliss was everything he was missing. An adventure that called out to him every sunrise. The first year felt like a true retirement from the life of action he had taken on for nearly two decades, Momma and Pop were overjoyed that he could finally stay home and help them with the field work, and help he did. Retirement still no time to get fat and lazy as he fed the chickens, patrolled the fields, and hauled hay for the horses day in and day out. The years afterwards however...only made him realize that the dream he had fought for had changed right out from under him. There was so much more than just this farm, these fields, and his folks...he could save folks, and he honestly loved doing it. All he could think of was that boy; a curse of danger plagued Fain and there would be sleepless nights where he wondered if he was still okay. It ate him him no matter what he did now. the sickness reaching a tipping point during field work on his second year back. Momma watching as her son, lifting hay back to the barn, teetered off like a stack of bricks and collapsed. The truth of his metal poisoning being revealed to his folks finally after he finally was forced to quite being stubborn in lieu of his life. A messenger being sent to the nearest doctor they could find, managing instead to find an archaeologist well versed in medicine. Howlrick the nail in his retirement coffin. 

It took another month or two before Howl managed to scrub off the rust on his metal plates and detoxify him. Silas feeling ten years younger after the strange man practically saved his life, and in return allowed the archaeologist to stay with them while he was here researching a dig site not too far from their homestead. It was all a sign to the cowboy, that his retirement was still far in his future. Silas showing the scrawny, but eager howl how to do the chores and yard work he did. The air that day different, and he felt as though the spirit of the west were calling him out to fight once more. The letter a shock in of itself simply because bills were the only mail they ever got. A breeze blowing across his farmer's tan and through his thick hair as he read the letter,and everything had finally clicked into place. He shook the envelope out onto his palm and eyed the C.A.R.D curiosuly, vaguely remembering having to use one of these before in that big shining city, pocketing the cash Fain had provided. He had already told Howlrick that if he was gone to tell Momma that'd his retirement would have to wait. He feared he wouldn't leave if he saw her cry so it was for the best, pressing the wax seal three times and feeling excitement surge through him for the first time in two years. 

A limo arriving in no time at all, and Silas could hardly believe that it was floating off the ground. Magitech something he could hardly wrap his mind around, and it never ceased to amaze him as looked back to the farmhouse one last time before getting into the back. His ride a smooth one, with only a few awkward exchanges as he attempted to pay his driver for his service. A few stubborn attempts being turned down before he leaned back and grumbled. He hadn't even reached the city yet and already he remembered how confusing it was. The limo arriving at the train station, and with one last payment attempt he jumped on the train. A few wary looks bringing him back to the familiar tension he had with fancy folks, finally arriving to his own cabin where a few more attempts at payment and tipping were refused before he was left alone, kicking up his boots as he watched the scenery blur by through the window. He was on his way again, to the big city. 

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The trip was long.

Silas could only be grateful that somehow on this train that everyone had their own room. He didn't even think a train express could be big enough to provide suites inside of a moving vehicle, it truly is a wonder about what money can buy. Food was delivered, walks were taken, the express even had a cafe and store in side of it. Just as he was starting to get a bit stir crazy after spending a entire day on the journey, that same feeling of anticipation began to grow in his gut again once the rolling hills started to disappear from the windows and the cloudy day began to turn to evening. Looking out the window, the small smattering of rain drops begin to fall as if signifying his arrival.

He finally had made it to Cradle.

The city is absolutely gigantic, one of the biggest hubs for transportation and magi-technology in the country. It had its own weather and subsystem of economy because of how gigantic and bustling the area is. Entering Cradle was like entering a new land full of neon lights, skyscrapers, and sound. Silas can't help but feel absolutely awed watching the train pull into the city. Even the people were all shapes and sizes, the diversity only proof that this city is the root of travel and business for all, if you have the proper identification that is. By the time the express finally pulled into its station, Silas had his banged up suitcase and bag at the ready, adrenaline already kicking in at the anticipation of the heavy crowds.

'Thank you V.I.P. members, for riding on the Silver Express. We hope to see you again soon!' the cheerful voice chimed over the intercom as the train doors automatically slid open.

Silas is immediately assaulted with the sounds, sights, and lights of the city. It's overwhelming in a terrifying but wonderful way. Stepping off, he only then realizes how few people were actually on the train. The intercom mentioned something about them being special members, maybe that was a purposeful choice by Fain since he knew it was bound to be a bit crowded and miserable for Silas travelling a regular way. Even just his looks could make people wary. And yet, somehow with his meager luggage and his strange looks, he didn't feel eyes on him as he walked to the only gate to exit that he could see. Maybe strange looking people and expressions were simply just common in a large city like Cradle.

He only had made it three steps away from the train when his name rang out clearly among the small throng of people.

"Mr. Coleman." repeats the voice and it belongs to what can only be described as a tall female android. "Welcome to Cradle. I am Mr. Locke's assistant, Tabitha. I am here to get your C.A.R.D properly registered and then will take you to see Mr. Locke and the young master Locke." She explains succinctly, her bright cyan eyes glowing lightly even in the dim lighting of the station.

Tabitha is smartly dressed and radiates power. It seems anything related to the Lockes has a certain air about it that can't be denied. Her unsaturated platinum hair is pulled up into a low bun with two spiraled strands framing her face and plum-coloured lips. Her skin is smooth but her eyes are unnaturally bright, and there are two lines running down from them, breaking the illusion that she is a human. She's wearing a deep blue turtleneck dress that cinches tightly at the waist by a delicate silver band. Her silver stilettos and silver pearl hair clip tying back her bun complete the look in an effortlessly simple but standout look.

"Come. We mustn't waste time. As we go I will explain to you the logistics. You were given a C.A.R.D. by the young master. This is your identification in the city. You must never lose it. For efficiency and convenience, your C.A.R.D. can be transferred into something that can be scanned." She explains lightly, leading him through the security gate with a single glance to the guard and over to a black vintage car that doesn't appear to have wheels. "This could even be materials or clothing such as a ring, earring, necklace jewel, contact lens, cuff link, the list continues. If you would like to transfer your C.A.R.D data into a material instead of carrying the item around, we will be able to do that during your registration. I would suggest you think carefully about what sort of accessory you wish to have as your identifier, as it should be something you always carry with you or will remember to bring with you outside."

Silas is able to chuck his luggage into the trunk before he gets inside the car. The black leather interior cushions his back tenderly and the luxury treatment definitely has already paid off at least where his back is concerned. Sometimes public travelling can be such a hassle for someone of his larger stature. Tabitha sits at the driver wheel and its only then, when the car starts to strangely shift vertically that Silas realizes the car doesn't have wheels because it levitates off the ground.

Technology really is something.

Edited by Swansong
wrong word

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The environment blurred by in such a mesmerizing way that it was hard for him to look away from the window. The contrast from being a dirt poor drifter spending weeks at time making trips on horseback to paid train trips to the most advanced city he's ever seen were staggering to him. It was one of the reasons he wanted to go...to see beyond the keyhole of his understanding. There existed so much more beyond the dusty trails and hard farm work he was accustomed to. He was simple, and as honest as any man could be...but curiosity was something he couldn't deny any longer. The trip itself however becoming anxious and mildly frustrating as he paced the halls and distracted himself with the train's commodities. A nap tiding him over until the spattering of rain against his window roused him before he fell into a deeper sleep. The dazzling lights seen up ahead, and the sudden rush of adrenaline and nerves told him that they had arrived. It had been nearly three years since he had been here, and still it felt like the first time.

The voice over the intercom making him realize that Fain had indeed made sure Silas' trip was as comfortable as possible. His large frame squished into a full cart making for an awkward and miserable trip for the archaic cowboy. The lack of eyes on him helping him relax as he took in the air and the sights with both anxiety and excitement. It was like the world had denied him it's fullness for so long up until now. It amazed him that his parents hadn't ever traveled out of their town too far let alone out to a marvel like this. His focus now on the nearest exit; his limp far better than it was the last time he was here, but still prevalent as he pressed on. A voice repeating his name causing him to stop, the source being a lithe figure he hadn't noticed before. A woman, but way more than that even. He took off his hat respectively and reached out for a proper handshake "Nice ta meetch'ya Tabitha, Names Silas, but chew alreadeh know that" He said; the creaks from his movements and jaw still existing, but far less noticeable than they were. He was glad that someone met him so they could explain his C.A.R.D to him better, forgetting the explanation made to him last time he was here.

Silas following her as he picked up his whethered suitcase "So Ah gotta keep it close then, sumthin that ah won't forget or lose" He said, continuing to listen to her explanation. This thing he needed seemingly very important to life here in Cradle. It would be easier if it was on something he never forgets rather than this weird little doohickey he has to carry around, scratching his head as they arrived at the car awaiting them, confused on why it didn't have any wheels. Was it like that limo that took him to the train? His suitcase being dropped into the back, and feeling the difference in class immediately as the carseat hugged his back. It was even better than his favorite sittin chair back home! A grumbling chuckle leaking through his metal jaw as he relaxed once again. Enjoying all of this while he could. The shift in perspective answering the limo question, realizing this car floates too.

"Ah missed this place"

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It was interesting how it seemed the bulk of car travel was actually above the actual streets, perhaps to provide more foot traffic and more space for everything below. But it also throw a lot of other questions into his head like how did people know where to go or how to drive when there were no rods to follow? It didn't take long for the car to arrive at its apparent destination, and slowly lowered itself back onto the side of the street to properly park in a temporary parking slot. When the two got out of the car, it was noticeable that the rain had picked up significantly, adding a cold chill to the streets and illuminating the neon lights and colours of the beautiful city even more. 

Before they enter, Tabitha pauses, turning towards him with a thoughtful look. "I just want to let you know beforehand that the owner of this building is a bit fretful in nature. Do not worry if you somehow startle him, it isn't your fault, nor does it have anything to do with your countenance."

And with that, her heels click along the wet pavement as she leads Silas into smaller building than he had expected. It has long green neon windows on both sides of the little door, showcasing an array of jewelry and accessories. in them. The interior is small but comfortable. It's a far cry from the exterior of the cold and dim city.  Warmth spills through the small room from a light bulb hanging, exuding small particle of light that seem to drift and float dreamily around the area. The place is incredibly clean, but doesn't feel cold or lacking, the soft neon green lights from the ceiling also wash the room in a bit of its hue. There is a counter on the far end, and the rest of the area has bookcases and stands of accessories and jewelry. There's a man behind the counter with dark brown hair that reached just past his shoulders. He's wearing a dark emerald green cloak but that's about all Silas can discern just from looking at the other's back. 

"William." Tabitha greets, earning a startled yelp from the man behind the counter.

William, apparently was more than 'a bit fretful', in fact he seemed positively skittish. Silas watches him accidentally throw whatever book he was reading into the air on surprised instinct and then duck down behind the counter. It's only after a moment of Tabitha clearing her throat, moving over to pick up the poor book that went flying across the room, and then approaching the desk does he dare peek his gaze above the desk once more. Now that a bit more of is face is shown, Silas can see that he is unnaturally pale with dark circles showing a sleepless countenance. He has disheveled longer brown hair, one wiry long strand falling directly into his dark eyes as he looks up at the two.

"Ah...Tabitha." William calls in sheepish embarrassment, eyes swiveling over to Silas before eventually moving back up into a stand and dusting off his sage green clothing. "Y-Yes Mr. Locke did tell me you'd be arriving around this time, didn't he?" he says softly, a posh accent lightly toning his words.

"Yes. Mr. Coleman here will simply be needing his information authenticated. I discovered he already has information registered in the system as it is not technically his first visit to the city. So, we will just be needing to update any C.A.R.D. information and then choose a identifier if Mr. Coleman prefers." Tabitha explains with a nod, stepping back to let Silas move closer to the counter. "But if you will excuse me, I will need to make a call at this time. You're in good hands Mr. Coleman. No one is better than William with the integration of an identifier." she assures Silas before heading outside with a short greeting to whomever was on the other end of her call with a hand moving to her ear.

William stares up at Silas for a moment before a smile lights up his face, erasing any weariness or gauntness in his cheeks just moments before. "I am very sorry for my poor manners Mr. Coleman." he greets, holding out a hand for the other man to shake. "I'm just a tad nervous in composure you see." he chuckles nervously. "I hope you can forget any silliness I may have displayed and know that I will do my best to serve you. My name is William. William Mayfield!" he chirps amiably.

There's no hesitancy in his voice, just a bit of nervousness which might just be the poor man's regular state of being. Still, he seems plenty genuine and his friendly attitude is welcoming to Silas, even showing no caution about offering a handshake.

"Now! I hope you don't mind if you confirm a couple questions. All very basic for identification mind you, but very important to make sure your C.A.R.D. is renewed so you can be off running along the bustling streets of the city." he titters, hands typing rapidly along a glowing green keyboard hologram in the air.

The questions were all simple enough. Height, Weight, Eye Colour and the like. There were also questions a bit more in depth like his current occupation and a thorough look into his history with the law. It didn't take long to get the questions squared away as it seemed Fain had already uploaded and even updated most of the information already.

"And then all that's left is to choose an identifier, if you'd like one." William says, hands hovering over the keys as he turns to look up at Silas with a curious smile. "Most seem to like it on their jewelry or rings but really there is quite a lot of freedom in it. Is there anything you'd like your registration data to be embedded in? I for one think you seem like a very interesting fellow, so I'd be quite curious on what you decide your identifier could be. Oh-not that I meant to say that there is something bad about being interesting but just that oh-well-I mean-" he fumbles with a nervous laugh, wringing his fingers. "Wh-What um do you think? Anything you'd be interested in Mr. Coleman?" he asks with a wobbly smile, his finger reaching up to fiddle with the emerald broach that kept his cloak connected around the front.

Edited by Swansong
messed up names

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Silas hadn't remembered this experience before and suffice it to say, it made him uneasy. The roads were roads for a reason right? Why did they need to fly? It might of been because of sheer vertical nature Cradle boasted. He hardly understood the tech that was behind it and just enjoyed the experience overall, even if a fall from this height made him a little nervous. Silas sucking in a silent breath as he calmed his nerves. He had quit drinking after Howlrick's treatment and felt that edge creeping along his vision before the sick feeling in his stomach subsided as they eventually made it to their destination. The rain coming down harder than it had before, and making his joints hurt as the cold chill clung to his clothes. It was a good thing his metal plates had been treated against rust otherwise he'd be back to his rickety self in no time. Silas wondering how she handled her metal bits in the rain, figuring she had some high tech windshield wipers or something. Her expression surprising him momentarily as they stopped just shy of their destination. 

"Thank ye kindly, but ahm no stranger tah weird looks Ma'am. Ah don't take offense ta it anymore."

He didn't know what to expect from a registration office, but he didn't expect a hole in the wall seemingly underneath the monolithic buildings that scoured the streets. the interior spic and span and he was thankful for the warmth that drove out the frigid air, taking off his hat and giving it a few smacks against his leg before clipping it to his pistol belt. Momma always teaching him to take his hat off indoors. Wirejaw watching as Tabitha took the lead, calling the man behind the counter by name. Her warning hadn't revealed just how skittish he was as he threw a book across the office in fear and ducked behind the counter. It reminded him of the grocery girl in his hometown, took her weeks to acclimate to his grizzled visage. Silas a man of few words and let Tabitha do the talking as she explained his situation before leaving them alone to attend a call. One of the locks maybe? 

"Mighty fine ta meechya Mr. Mayfield. Ahm Silas" He greeted, returning the handshake with a firm one of his own.

 His face was intimidating to most to look at directly, but he took a seat where he could with a groan as he ran a hand through his thick salt and pepper hair. "Ah only just got here and already feel snake rattled, ah friendly face helps. Ah dont mind answerin questions...keep ehm simple like if ye don't mind. Ah ain't so good with the science talk" He warned ahead of time, doing his best to answer the questions that followed, having to scratch his head a few times as he tried to explain that his left eye used to brown but was now just a fake eye and not knowing if that could be an eye color. William likely never meeting someone as homegrown and out of the loop as Mr. Coleman. The sections that were already updated by Fain saving them suffering and managing to complete the questions without too many hiccups. 

"Tabitha said sumthin 'bout that earlier, an ahdentifer huh" he grumbled, mulling over the possibilities and realizing that he wasn't quite so creative when it came to jewelry, rings, or any clothing of the like. He knew he'd end up losing his C.A.R.D if it was just a hunk of junk in his pocket. When it came to fain, he had to be prepared to get into plenty of scuffles if it came down to it. The cowboy laughing for a moment before coughing into his fist "Never been called interestin before. Ah don't take offense, it's mighty kind. Thank ye. Ah thought it over as much as ah can, and I think if ya stick it right here. Ah won't ever forget it" He said, pointing at his right jaw screw as he lifted his metal jaw to show William "Is that sumthin ye can do?" He asked 


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