Bez and Sigma are human, Thand is a reptilian being, on the side of good, Matrix, Radium and Synapse are mechanical, human-like, but with artificial intelligence.
Bez looked through the crowds at the Skyport, trying to pick out Radium or Synapse.
"So...they're some Bounty Hunter friends of yours?" Sigma asked timidly.
"Top-notch guys, I promise you." Matrix proclaimed cheerily.
Bez smiled dryly. "I wouldn't call Radium top-notch."
"Let's just say Radium's a little out of calibration."
Matrix made a joyous exclamation.
Bez followed Matrix's stare and grinned. "Hey, over here guys!' She waved her arms above her head, getting the duo's attention.
Soon, they stood in front of them.
Radium was short and muscly, his vivid orange hair heavily gelled into spikes and his ears home to a multitude of piercings. His eyes were a quick and accusing blue.
Synapse, the younger of the twins by a mere femtosecond, was tall and thin, with a mop of dirty blond hair and calm green eyes. He smiled warmly.
"Hey, Bez 'n' Matrix!" He looked over at Sigma. "May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?"
Sigma flushed slightly. "Sigma." She said nervously.
Synapse nodded. "Pleasure to meet you, Sigma." He turned his attention to Thande. "And your name, please?"
Thande regarded him levelly, studying him with the sharp acuity of a hunter. "Thande." He said simply, and at length.
"Pleased to meet you as well, Thande." Synapse's signature mellow was not disturbed in the slightest by the surging crowds of the Skyport, or by Thande's cool reception of him and his brother. He elbowed Radium expectantly.
"What?" Radium asked sharply. "They know who I am and I know who they are. Enough said."
Bez smiled dryly, shaking her head. "So what's on the agenda, my mechanical friends?"
"That is so typical of you."
"You got a problem with it?" Radium asked stiffly, his shoulder mounted blast cannons sliding into place.
Bez shook her head, still smiling. "You're such a Terminator." She said lightly, poking one of the cannons. The cannons slid out of sight, Radium smiling smugly.
Sigma shivered. "I'll never get used to that."
Bez waved her off with a casual gesture. "Lighten up. Off we go!" She headed into the swirling crowd, closely followed by Radium.
Synapse offered an arm to Sigma. "Shall we go?" He asked politely.
Sigma blushed again, taking his arm. The pair followed after Bez and Radium.
Matrix shook his head, smiling and followed shortly behind them.
Thande waited a moment before following, listening carefully to the others' conversations.
"Radium, how many times do I have to tell you? Your Plasma Lance will be done when I gosh-dang finish building it!"
"Can't you hurry?"
"I swear on your processor, if you mention it one more time, I'll blow your circuit boards out."
"So, how did you meet Bez and Matrix?"
"Bounty Hunters tend to bump into each other, Sigma. We teamed up on a mission."
"If you don't mind me saying, you don't seem like the Bounty Hunting type."
"You don't have to tell me! Radium wanted to do it, and that settled the matter. He'd get himself blown up if he went off on his own."
Thande smiled slightly. Though they were strange, there were times when humans were oddly entertaining.
They continued walking on, chatting and becoming reacquainted until they were almost to the shooting range.
Bez stopped suddenly, consequently nearly getting run over by Radium.
"What the heck?" He exclaimed sharply.
Bez didn't answer, but the expression of disgusted malice on her face spoke volumes.
Radium followed her glare. "Oh." He said contemptuously. His shoulder cannons slid into place.
The others caught up quickly, observing the scene.
A middle aged woman had chained herself to a lamp pole in front of the shooting range. A small crowd had gathered around her. She was screaming something at the top of her lungs. "Stop the cruelty! Join PETAM!"
Sigma frowned. "PETAM?"
"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Mechanicals." Bez said venomously. "They were bad enough before Artificial Intelligence made leaps and bounds. As if their crap wasn't bad enough when it was just animals-now they want to take Mechanicals under their deranged wing." Sigma's frown deepened.
"So...she's protesting the shooting range?"
Bez nodded. She cracked her knuckles noisily. "I don't have time for this crap." She walked forward, flanked by Radium. "Hey, lady! Hey, I'm talking to you!"
The woman ignored Bez.
"Hey, CRACKHEAD!" Radium bellowed.
The woman looked over at the pair of them. She noticed Radium's shoulder cannons and began to preach again. "See how this human treats this poor, innocent mechanical? She forces him to do her bidding! Forces him to alter his appearance to this unfortunate state, making him make a fool of himself!"
Matrix stifled a gasp-laugh. "Oh, this lady is so offline." He muttered.
Synapse sighed, shaking his head.
"Radium has a bit of a temper." Synapse said in response to Sigma's unspoken question. "This woman...probably just set it off." He gently unhooked his arm from Sigma's. "While it was a pleasure walking and talking with you, I have to go save an idiot's life now." He walked toward Radium and Bez..
Radium stared levelly at the woman. "What?" He said quietly.
"His Free-Will chip has clearly been removed! Witness the cruelty for-"
The woman was cut off by Radium taking a firm hold of the pole she had chained herself to and throwing it across the street.
"MY FREE-WILL CHIP REMOVED!?" He bellowed, stomping across the street to the PETAM member. "YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS BLATHERING IDIOT!"
He was about to throw the pole again when Synapse stopped him.
"Look, I disapprove of what she does as much as you do, but killing her won't get us anywhere!"
Bez snorted, joining them. "Speak for yourself! I'm with you, Radium." She looked nervously at Synapse. "You didn't bring Meep, did you?" She mouthed. Synapse frowned suddenly.
"Crap." He mouthed back.
Bez shook her head, turning her attention back to the woman. "What's your name?" She asked.
The woman didn't answer.
"TELL US YOUR FRACKING NAME!" Radium roared.
The woman looked up at him. "Charity Bohn."
Matrix trotted over to the group, smiling. "Well, that sucks."
Charity frowned at him.
"Your name. It doesn't fit.."
"Just who are you?" She demanded haughtily.
"Well, allow me to introduce the group!" Matrix said, his polite tone tainted by a distinct note of contempt. "Thande, Sigma, Bez, Matrix, Radium and Synapse. And allow me to clarify: me, Radium, and Synapse all have perfectly functioning Free-Will chips."
Charity's expression became one of horror. "Wait-you're a mechanical?"
Matrix regarded her flatly. "Should I use smaller words?"
Charity looked venomously over at her before returning her gaze to Matrix. "I wouldn't have been so rude if I had known-"
"You disgust me."
"Wha-?" Charity was taken completely by surprise by Matrix's abrupt, casual declaration of disapproval.
"YOU. DISGUST. ME." Matrix repeated, making accompanying actions. "Tell me this, Charity, " He said her name in a way that made it distinctly insulting. "Why do you think Mechanicals need to be protected?"
Matrix laughed. Radium snorted derisively. Synapse merely rolled his eyes.
"Guys, let's give her an example of the 'abuse' we poor Mechanicals must endure. Radium, pull off my arm."
Radium smiled, taking a firm hold of Matrix's right arm. With a swift twist, he ripped it off.
Charity gasped, her eyes going buggy in horror.
Matrix smiled, wiggling the fingers of his dismembered arm at the crowd. "We don't feel pain, so technically, can't be abused." Radium smiled wickedly. He smacked Charity in the head with Matrix's arm, then handed it back to him. Matrix smiled mischievously and promptly re-attached it.
Radium burst into raucous laughter. "It's called a Personality Generator, crackhead! Here's an example." He punched Synapse as hard as he could in the stomach.
Synapse looked incredulously at Radium, but did not respond otherwise.
"See? His Personality Matrix spits out the behaviors he has."
Charity gaped at them.
Bez stepped forward. "You mind if I cut in? I got a few things to say to this wack-job before the cops show up." She smiled wickedly. "Hey, public disturbance is enough to get her hauled off for a bit." She looked over at Synapse. "Can I borrow Meep?"
Synapse nodded. His chest opened up, revealing a cavity in which a large Venus fly-trap sat.
The fly-trap yawned and let out a happy meep. He jumped out of Synapse's chest, scuttling over to Bez and purring happily.
Synapse's chest closed up. He smiled at the plant.
Bez picked up Meep and showed him to Charity.
"You kept that poor-" She struggled for a word, unsure if she should call Meep a plant-person or some type of animal. "-innocent creature in such a small cage?"
Bez dropped Meep on her face. The fly-trap promptly sniffed her and coughed a large ball of partially digested flies onto her face.
Charity gagged. "You horrid people! You mutated this poor plant into-into-"
"Hey, I'll have you know we found him in this state, so shut up! Besides, he's happy."
Meep chirped and spat another blob of insects onto Charity's face.
Sigma spoke up finally. "You're not even going to take him off your face? Right, I forgot, he's an animal so he's superior to you and it would be evil to remove him."
Bez chuckled. "Nice, Sigma." She turned back to Charity. "I'm going to make this quick, because you don't have much time before you get arrested. People like you are disgusting, extremist, misanthropes, and gosh frigging dang it, you deserve a lot worse than half-eaten bugs getting spit up on your face."
Charity blubbered resentfully, unable to think of something to say.
The police showed up shortly after. Her chain was severed via laser, and she was unceremoniously shoved into the back of a police cruiser.
Bez turned to the crowd. "The moral of the story: Don't join PETAM or any group like it! The people do things a lot worse than chain themselves to light poles! You want evidence? Look it up! There's plenty of crap out there!"
The crowd murmured amongst itself. After nearly an hour of question answering, and pointing in the right direction for those who wanted to know more, the group was finally left to themselves.
Bez looked around at her friends. "I don't know about you, but I could really use some droid-shooting after that."
Radium whooped excitedly. "Heck yeah! Let's shoot those-"
"What? You didn't even know what I was going to say!"
"I'm your brother, Radium. Trust me. I know."
Synapse smiled at her and offered his arm. Sigma hooked her arm around it, and the group headed into the shooting range.
Thande shook his head. "Humans are strange." He said simply.
Bez chuckled. "Yeah. But at least we're not like those PETAM freaks."
Thande smiled slightly, getting Bez's joke. "Next time I see one of those, remind me to let Radium shoot it."