Kaleb worked in silence with Roy and Daivor as two more scavenger teams came and dropped off salvage. There wasn’t much to repair however, a few stun batons, half a riot shield that reminded him of Shocky, and a tiny box with a handle. Whoever built the tiny box meant someone to hold it, with the leather grip and a trigger. But Kaleb couldn’t tell what it did.
He repaired the batons, and the broken riot shield before he turned his attention to the box. Daivor and Roy were arranging the left over circuit boards and metal bits. Kaleb listed the different parts he could make out from the elongated box. It had a small screen on one side, the handle, the trigger, two knobs on the left-hand side of the box. Once Kaleb had wracked his brain for a few minutes, he gave up and asked Farrah.
“Any idea what this is, Farrah?”
“One second.” She responded. After a few seconds of typing she continued. “It looks like it is K-Tech’s handheld MassSpec Version 2.”
“This thing is a Mass Spectrometer?!” Kaleb asked, surprised.
“it doesn’t look like it has a power source and who knows what else is wrong with it but, yeah.” Farrah said.
Kaleb whistled as he turned the device over in his hand. He found a few screws on the back plate probably covering the power housing. As he set about opening it he asked Roy and Daivor.
“You two find anything else interesting?”
Daivor hovered over the small pile of junk as Roy crouched down near the same. Looking back at Kaleb Daivor shook his head, but Roy picked up a piece of metal and held it up.
“This metal seems to be a weird alloy and I think there’s something in it.” Roy said.
“Really? Let me see.” Kaleb said.
Roy gathered a few more pieces of the metal before he stood and brought them to Kaleb. Kaleb set the handheld MassSpec down and studied the bits of metal Roy brought over. The metal had a blue tinge to it showing that someone had blued the metal. But other than that, the metal felt strange in his hand. It was soft and Kaleb thought it felt wet too. Like Roy had said Kaleb also thought he could see some shiny microfibers in the metal as he stared close.
Kaleb shook his head. “That is weird. Does it feel wet to you too?”
“Yeah, that was the first thing I noticed. Look here though.” Roy said bringing Kaleb’s attention to the twenty pieces of metal he had brought over.
“They are all the same size and they all feel different.” Roy explained, fanning the metal bits out on the table.
“Samples?” Kaleb asked.
“Or maybe they are throwaways from a failed experiment.” Roy said.
Daivor floated over and told Kaleb. “Maybe I can identify what they used to make the metal.”
Kaleb looked down at the MassSpec. “If this worked, then we could find out exactly what they put into the metal.”
Daivor shrugged, “My magic can also figure it out with an Identify spell.”
“Then hit it up, Master Gnome. The stuff may be useful.”
Daivor grinned as he floated his chariot down to the table. Once he was down he got out of his chariot and focused his gaze on the pile of metal. Kaleb felt the magic in the area spike for a second before the metal bits on the table caught fire.
“Oh, shit!” Roy screamed as he hurried to put out the fire.
Kaleb did his best to put out the fire, but his focus was on what had happened to Daivor. Something had flung the tiny Gnome backward. Kaleb assumed it had been magical backlash. As Roy finished putting the fire out, Kaleb picked up Daivor and tapped the Gnome’s cheek. After a couple of pokes the Gnome shook himself and came to.
“Argh! That did not tickle.” Daivor said rolling off Kaleb’s hand.
“What happened?” Kaleb asked as he looked over the scorched bits of metal.
“It’s anti-magic metal. Although I’ve never seen it react so explosively.” Daivor explained.
Roy held up several pieces of metal looking confused. “Why did they all catch fire? It was like the fire on some pieces ignited the others.”
“No idea.” Kaleb said. “You want to take a few of the none scorched ones as your pay?”
Roy nodded as Daivor wobbled over to his chariot. Kaleb and the others cleaned up their area and left the alley to find Blutschläger. Kaleb was keeping the MassSpec while Roy had a handful of the anti-magic metal. As the group moved around the back alley toward the back of the Quinica’s kiosk, Farrah asked.
“You’re not going to take anything from those metal arms?”
Kaleb shook his head. “I would have if I hadn’t found the handheld MassSpec. But this could be too useful to pass up. More so than a bunch of spare parts for my arm.”
Finding Blutschläger in the alleyway before they got to main street. Kaleb lifted the broken MassSpec and pointed toward Roy’s bits of metal. “We will take these as our payment. Any problems?”
Blutschläger glanced at Roy’s metal before he held out his hand for Kaleb’s device. “And this is?”
“Broken without a power source. Not to mention I don’t know what else is wrong with it.” Kaleb responded curtly.
“HAHA! And yet you want it.” Blutschläger laughed waving the MassSpec at Kaleb.
Kaleb was about to say something else when Blutschläger casually tossed the MassSpec at him. Kaleb frantically caught it as Blutschläger said. “Go ahead, I know how to take care of my employees. Take your little trinket and your bits of metal. Anything else?”
Kaleb put the MassSpec in his lab coat pocket before he shook his head. “Not really. But we are done for the day. We have repaired everything that can be and what’s left are all either beyond repair or worth more in pieces.”
Blutschläger got a dirty look on his face as Kaleb explained. “Normally I don’t let my employees tell me when their shift is over.”
Kaleb sighed loudly. “I’m not your employee. You could call me an independent contractor. The repair work is done, and we have agreed on payment for this week. I will be back next Friday to help again, but I don’t think I will go on anymore scavenging missions.”
Blutschläger had a severe look on his face as he moved to study Kaleb’s face. After a few seconds Blutschläger smiled a pointy-toothed smile and patted Kaleb shoulder. “Fine. You are an independent contractor. If that is how you want it, then that is how it will be.”
Kaleb exhaled loudly. “Yes, that is how it is. But, don’t worry, I’ll be back next week.”
“Oh, I have no worries professors. We shall do good work together, I just know it.” Blutschläger said moving out of the alleyway into Under-Town’s main street.
Kaleb shook hands with Blutschläger before he and the others left. After waving to Deiter who was manning the kiosk, Kaleb put his hand on Roy’s shoulder and turned him toward the metal arena.
“Where are we going?” Roy asked.
“I figured since we are down here, I should introduce you to the Brute Clan.” Kaleb explained as he weaved around a large hairy humanoid.
“Really?!” Roy asked sounding excited.
“Sure, why not? They are good people, they just got the short end of the stick. Besides, they took in a son of a bitch like me. So I could at least introduce them to my friends.” Kaleb said.
The trio moved through the tightly packed main street without incident. Kaleb noted that the arena was now in full swing as waves of noise reverberated down main street. As they got closer, Kaleb could see that there was a line sticking out from the arena entrance and down main street. They drew dirty looks as they went around the line and moved to out to the side. Kaleb had just made out the Brute Clan encampment when he heard someone call out to him.
“Lab Lizard!” A throaty female voice called.
Kaleb turned to see Aqwen rushing toward him from the practice yards behind the arena. He started to wave when he noticed the look on her face. Something had her scared.
“What is it? What’s wrong, Aqwen?”
“They have taken Wulkun!” Aqwen shouted almost accusingly.