Terna helped Roger move the suit over to a rack with rollers on it. There were hooks there that stretched out of their own accord, grabbing a hold of the suit’s contours to hold it in exactly the perfect way. They pushed the rack out of the closet, and into yet another subsection of the armory. Here there were a few stations that were striped with orange and black. They had clamps extending from them, and Terna was not at all surprised when those clamps glommed onto the moving rack and drew it in, making it part of itself.
“This is the docking station,” Roger explained. “If we had the parts for it we could mod and mold that suit of yours to fit speciality tasks and missions. The docks here help out a lot, they are like having eight sets of arms when it comes to pulling stuff out and replacing it. And the speed at which they do it, whoa boy is it a sight to see. But for now we’re just gonna get the suit opened up and you put inside it.”
Terna nodded. “So what do I do?” she asked.
“Just walk up to the back and let me push these buttons over here. The AI will scan your body, adjust the suit to fit you, then zip her open in the rear and shove you up through the backside.”
It sounded easy enough. But dirty at the same time. The words he used made it sound like she was about to be greased and slid through the anus of some larger being.
The idea was gross and she shuddered in response to it.
Roger saw her shudder and went bug-eyed. “Oh, uh, nothing scary about it Terna. Just slide on up and I’ll get you suited. Sound better?”
She nodded. It definitely sounded better. She smiled and stepped up to the plate, allowing Roger to beep his way through a series of buttons.
The suit was blasted by waves of something. Red-tinted wind? Whatever the powers that were in action, they shrank the suit in some areas, crinkling the hardened material in a slow and steady manner that reminded her of the village smithy, and ‘Ol Hardig reshaping the rusted broken metallic alloys they scavenged from the wastes.
A spray of steam and a sigh signaled an end to the red light, and next came the unzipping.
The suit parted open in the back, no actual zipper in sight, and ropey-rubbery tentacles sprouted from the docking station. They guided the suit over to her.
“Yer gonna want to step into the boots, there, Terna. But otherwise the AI will take care of the rest,” Roger advised. She nodded and did as she was told, stepping forward and into the soles of the suit.
A moment later she felt the cool material of the suit fold over the contours of her ankle, then up her thighs and the rest of her leg. The suit rippled slightly and it encased her.
It was nothing like the body suits her tribe had occasionally worn during deep winter hunts. Those ones she had to put on by herself, layer by layer and button after button.
These ones – it was more like immersing oneself into a cool bath than it was like donning any sort of heavy gear.
The suit rolled over her, suctioning to her skin and leaving no sag anywhere in its fabric.
“How’s that feeling?” Roger asked. Terna pushed out one arm and twisted it, then did the same with the other.
“I can’t tell where the suit stops and I start,” she said, her voice echoing through with awe.
Roger nodded. “It’s a damn good suit of armor. Take care of it and it’ll take care of you.”
He reached behind her, kneading her shoulders then her sides.
“No breaks, rips or tears. Sometimes the suit can kink at the angles. Looking good. Suit, activate. Code R945 Roger. AI controls delegated to current user, Code . . .” he paused, coming around front and looking at her. “You gotta have a passcode so you can lock certain functions in times of duress and danger. Like, uh, like getting captured. So whatcha got for me?”
She grinned evilly, though he couldn’t see her face through the mask. “BuyMort Kaput,” she said. Roger repeated her words and the suit pulsed over with an orangish-red energy that faded as quickly as it had come.
In front of her, on the suit screen through which she now saw the world, a variety of different status indicators and icons whirred into being.
Input User Name a prompt told her. Without saying a word the prompt filled itself in, seemingly reading her mind.
Vital signs good. 100%
She saw the rhythm of her heart beat on a long and green monitor underneath it all. Somehow it made her feel strong and vital.
“I’m going to feed in some stage one battle brews,” Roger said. “I’ll do a couple of each, just in case. It’ll pop up a consumption monitor. Use that to tell the suit what to inject and when. And because you aren’t drinking them, expect it to come on pretty damn fast when you use one.”
A menu popped up, the battle brews filing in one atop the other.
SPEED (2x). ENDURANCE (2x). STRENGTH (2x). VISION (2x). STEADINESS (2x).
“Alright, Terna, now we’re going to need to gear you up. It is best to select a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, some medicinals and a sack of charges. I’ve been advised not to give you grenades, so we’ll leave those out of the equation. Come with me and I’ll lead you through the stations.”
Roger offered his arm and her armor sighed slightly as she moved to take it. There was a very quiet swish swish to the protection, and it felt comforting. It was similar to the sound of her own former winter wear, before her life had been plunged into madness.
They made their way back through the main room, with the people frantically packing and loading capsules, and into another peopleless room, this one with racks of gear on the walls and along the center.
“ButMort is going to send you ads. Just read them, don’t click any. Read them through and get a feel for what might suit your fancy,” Roger said.
Terna screwed up her face. She knew already that she was never ever to use the BuyMort. That it was important to keep her NoMort so that the baddies would come here and they could capture some and figure out the why of the whole thing.
She nodded, her helmet bobbing out the affirmative. Then she strode forward, looking through the weapons and brushing them with the outstretched palm.
TREBLED LEAF WEAPONS PRESENTS THE MAGNAR SPINTATE 3000. This rotating magneto-electrokinetic minigun can fire up to one-thousand rounds a minute and safely stores 3000 rounds in one connected TREBLED LEAF compatible battle suit.
Terna turned to regard Roger, his face reflecting in the darker blue lights of the weapons locker.
“Yeah, we don’t buy anything that isn’t compatible. It’s a good weapon, but it runs dry fast and takes a lot of practice to set a real tempo for. Most people burn out of ammo in probably the first ten minutes.”
She let go of the weapon, brushing her hand through again. A few ads popped in and she simply let them fade away, uninterested in the ergonomics of the weaponry. But then she paused, her hand resting on an overly large rifle whose barrel aperture suggested that it fired rounds the size of her thumb.
XMS-7 Blast Cannon. Pure TREBLED LEAF quality engineering, neuronium-enhanced and plasma charged. This bad boy doesn’t just kill your enemies . . . it heats them up and cooks them through. And best of all, the XMS-7 converter kit changes anything solid and loose into ammunition, so you will last the battle just as long as your battery does.*
Converter Kit sold separately. Battery pack sold separately. 2,000,000 morties. 4.7 stars.
“I want this one,” Terna said.
Roger scurried over and unclasped it from the rack. Then he pulled a large block from another bench, turning it over to reveal a circular dip on its other end. Reaching deep into the rack he retrieved a glowing orb and clicked it into place, energizing the whole thing.
“Converter kit. You’re gonna need it,” he said. Clamped the kit to the side of the rifle, he handed the whole ensemble to Terna. She hefted it and felt its weight settled into her strong forearms.
“Thank you. This is a good weapon.”
“Damn straight it is,” Roger laughed. “One of my favorites, that’s for sure. Now let’s get you a secondary in case you run out of battery.”
Roger gestured Terna to follow, and she went with him over to the opposite wall. Here the arms were quite a lot smaller. And stranger. It seemed like secondary arms design was where the more inventive minds went to play.
SINGULARITY BUZZER! By Yuk Yuk Labs. In the tradition of the ancient Aznar people, combat was an activity of duty and honor, given to all as a duty of bravery and heroics, to be done one-on-one, hand-to-hand or blade-to-blade. No partners, no armies, no projectiles.
But the Gods said nothing about projective blackhole punch rings.
The Aznar are all dead now but the technology is still alive with the Yuk Yuk SINGULARITY BUZZER! On hard contact with an enemy, the SINGULARITY BUZZER opens a miniature portal to the Great Aznarian BlackHole, allowing it for the briefest of instants to tear away pieces of the targeted opponent, and to cast those pieces into the void.
Tear them a new asshole, literally, with the SINGULARITY BUZZER! 5,500,000 morties. 4.1 stars.
“Sounds scary,” Terna stated, imagining what it all must look like.
“It is a rather horrifying weapon. And it can be quite damaging to the user as well. You definitely don’t want to drop it.”
Terna nodded, head past another several items to hone in on a more traditional looking weapon — A six-inch blade.
The Ginzo-5000 by Wesson Blades and Axes. Like having 3 knives in 1! Simply direct your psionic energy towards the blade and connect that to an angry thought about your target. And Presto! Absolute accuracy with absolute damage!
Terna cut it off there. Sounded like a lot of complications with little payoff.
She moved down the row some more, noticing a long metal wand.
The Stun Baton ST. Drop ‘em down, drop ‘em square, drop ‘em right in jail. 4.9 stars. 40,000 morties.
It was such a simple design. Yet she knew she wanted it. What better way to find out what the whole NoMort business was about.
Roger raised an eyebrow. “You planning on taking prisoners?” he asked.
She nodded. “Sometimes, when you need something done, it’s good to plan to do it yourself. And for the rest, give me something that can help me patch wounds, an explosive charge if there is room, and then I am ready to face down fate.”
Roger shuffled away to grab the requested items. “You know there’s a good chance you aren’t going to see any action.”
Terna laughed. The stars above had almost certainly ordained that this day would be otherwise.