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It was well after one in the morning when Ethan staggered into his apartment. Blearily resetting the lock on the door, he stepped into the kitchen, careful not to make too much noise as he slipped off his Saints jacket and placed his gun down on the kitchen table.

Normally the weapon was locked away in his room within moments of him entering the house, but the man figured that given the hour, the weapon was safe from questing hands for just the moment.

At least, it damn well better be, he thought wryly. It was a school night after all, and if the kids weren’t in bed and fast asleep by now there was going to be hell to pay.

A quick peak upstairs filled him with relief though. Both his kids were there, snoring away in their rooms.

The sight soothed him.

As it always did.

As much as he wanted to make the journey across the hall to his own bed to finally rest his weary body, he knew from long experience that even if he did, no sleep would be forthcoming. He would just lie there, awake and jittery.

He always was after a firefight, and he knew it would take hours before he was calm enough to even attempt to go to sleep.

Of course, by the time that happened he would need to get back up again anyway to get the kids ready for school, make breakfast, and pack them both a lunch each. They could do it themselves of course, Brock and Shelly were certainly old enough now, but it was the one time of the day he actually got to see them and he refused to give it up.

His kids might not have a mother anymore, but he would be damned if they didn’t have a dad.

Of course, that still left him with a few hours to burn.

Considering the wafer-thin nature of the buildings cheap walls, watching tv was right out. The house had come with a few books on the shelves, but no one in the family was much of a reader, and they had very quickly found themselves pawned off.

Which really just left him with one option.

The laptop.

Pulling the old computer out of its hiding place, Ethan winced as the clattery old thing’s fans loudly whirred to life, disturbing the quiet of his home. Still, slow, noisy and laborious as the ancient machine’s boot-up was, it did eventually start up properly.

Firing up the web-browser, the father of two momentarily considered going straight to a porn site.

Firing one off was one way he’d found to ‘relieve’ tension after a particularly close call – and the today’s brief shootout with the Kings certainly counted. The purple cunts had been getting more and more brazen about pushing up against Saints territory, and today had finally been the day that something had popped off.

He’d been lounging around with a few other guys, ostensibly guarding the lobby of a Saint ‘sponsored’ whorehouse, when a dozen purple cunts had charged in and started shooting up the place. It was pure luck that Ethan wasn’t one of the guys caught up that initial salvo, and he’d hastily scrambled past the screaming whores – and Saints – to dive over the bar.

Which of course, being in Portland, was reinforced enough to act as decent cover from a hail of gunfire.

Not that that knowledge had given him much relief, as gunfire rang out, and shattered bottles of booze fell all around him.

His clothes, while no longer soaked as a result of that experience, still stunk like a brewery.

Which at the very least, is still a step-up from blood, he shuddered, remembering the scene that greeted him when the gunfire had stopped and he’d dared to peak his head out.

Now Ethan was no bleeding heart. He used whores, and he wasn’t delicate about it. That’s what they were paid for, just like he was paid to crack heads, and possibly have his own cracked in turn.

That was life.

But even he’d felt his stomach turn at what remained of the front of that bordello. Men and women in various states of undress, strewn about and bleeding. Some dead. Some alive and screaming.

He could still remember looking out at a young woman, scarcely a few years older than Shelly, slumped over a couch, eyes wide and glassy as they stared off into nothingness.

Of course, that had been the moment the surviving Saints returned fire, and he’d been forced to remember that he had a job to do. Everything thereafter had devolved into a continuous haze of panic and anger.

What felt like hours of it.

Stuck in a stalemate.

And then it ended just suddenly as it had begun.

Out of nowhere, a big purple bitch had run straight into the Kings, shrugging off gunfire without batting an eyelash.

It was all over after that, Zigzag had showed up while the Amazonian woman was mopping up, he’d been debriefed on what happened, given his ‘hazard pay’ and sent on his way home.

Still, that image stuck in his mind. That purple bruiser shrugging off bullets like they were nothing.

Less than nothing.

The Kings couldn’t harm her with what they had on hand, and she knew it.

“Prowler,” he murmured, finally remembering the name of the Bruiser. The chick who’d shown up a few months back.

“Didn’t she also bring in a few more meta-human’s recently?” A lightning chick for sure, he’d definitely seen that one about. A snooty blonde with a freaky mask. Her and two others. He vaguely recalled someone talking about a chick who make stuff float a few days back…

Which just left the last one. It was a dude, which was rare, so it should have stuck out in his mind.

He was an Artificer wasn’t he?

He was sure he was, but he also swore he heard someone saying he wasn’t. Then he remembered something.

Guns.

He’d seen a few guys wondering around with some fancy looking hardware just last week. He’d had no idea what the massive rifles did, but based on all the dials and wires on the things, he was willing to bet it was something fancier than spit lead.

Some kind of blackhole cannon or some shit like that.

He was willing to be that a gun like that would give even a Bruiser pause for thought.

Idly he ran a hand hand over where his own gun sat. A cheap Chinese knockoff of the classic BP-5, the thing was popular on the coast for its reliability and ease of maintenance. The thing didn’t have much stopping power or a great fire-rate, but it was light and had next to no recoil. Which made it an ideal weapon for women and children. Which also made it a perfect fit for somewhere like the West Coast, where the word civilian didn’t really exist. Everyone was a potential enemy combatant, and often employed as such.

Still, he thought looking over the bullpup, it might as well be a water gun for all the good it would do me if I went up against a meta…

That didn’t sit well with him. Not at all.

Coming to a decision, he typed in the address of the Saint’s forums.

The message board was pretty much an open secret amongst the gang, and he imagined other crews had something similar. The thing didn’t have any ‘official’ orders on it, but it was a convenient way for the gang to keep in touch and be kept up to date. The thing had some decent cyber security he didn’t quite understand, but Ethan knew Zigzag would come down like a sack of bricks on anyone who was dumb enough to think that meant it was safe to use to discuss any ongoing operations.

No, the place was more for the rank and file to be kept appraised of things going on. This could mean anything from rival gang movements to info on enemy Metas all the way down to which vendors were now ‘gang’ affiliated, and thus safe to buy from.

Which was exactly what Ethan was interested in.

Topic: Erich’s Armaments (Not Gravity’s Guns, as was previously posted.)

In: Associated Vendors

Bronte (Original Poster) (Member) (Meta) (Block Captain)
Posted On July 6th 2019:
Greeting Saints.

As I’m sure many of you already know, I am Bronte. What many of you do not know however is that I am a close associate of Mechromancer (the proprietor of Erich’s Armaments). As the man himself has declined to make himself or his business known on this message board, I have taken it upon myself to do it for him.

If you wish to speak to the man himself about his wares, you may do so at the store, although I would strongly recommend against it. The man has little patience for people, and I need not remind anyone of what happened to the last person to irritate him. For anyone who’s memory is faulty however, I would direct them to the street outside the store, where bits of Alloy can still be seen littering the street.

In the coming weeks I shall be classifying the myriad Meta-tech tools and weapons he has created before posting them on this site for your perusal. With that in mind, here is the first weapon he has begun the process of standardizing for sale:

The M2P3 ‘Red-Eye’ Laser Pistol:
The Red-Eye functions as a fully automatic pistol in that so long as the trigger is depressed it will continuously pulse high power laser beams. These beams are more than capable of penetrating the body of a civilian car (TESTED), concrete (Tested), and the resistances of some low-level Bruisers (Tested). Upon coming into contact with the human body the beam flash-heats any water within, resulting in an effect known as ‘explosive vaporization’. In the event of a hit to an individual’s centre mass this effect is invariably instantly fatal.

BleedsWhiteandYellow (Member)
Replied on July 6th 2019:
The lady’s not lying. Bought one of these on a whim(an expensive one) a while back to use as a holdout weapon. Figured it looked intimidating if nothing else. Was forced to use it the other day and boy did it work. No recoil, but it’ll blow a hole in someone the size of a watermelon. In armour or behind cover? Doesn’t matter.

StreetMook (Member)
Replied on July 7th 2019:
Yeah, that’s good and all, but would it have killed you to mention it only has twenty shots? I nearly lost an eye today because it ran out an inopportune moment.

BeaverFur (Member) (Meta) (Unit Leader)
Replied on July 7th 2019:

StreetMook: That’s your own dumbass fault for not asking. What kind of idiot gets into a firefight without knowing how many shots is in his or her gun?

Old_Man (Member)

Probably one of the new guys Zigzag let in. I know we need bodies if we’re going to have a chance against the Kings, but some of these dumbasses…

Ethan sighed as the posts from there devolved into an argument between the new guys and the veterans. Ethan himself was a member of the latter group, but he personally had no issue with the new guys. As far as he was concerned every person they could put in white and yellow was another body between the Kings and his kids.

Still, this ‘Red-eye’ sounded exactly like what he was looking for.

Well, not exactly, he thought as he looked at the accompanying image. He wasn’t much a fan of pistols, least of all using them as a primary weapon. Lots of the kids in the outfit preferred them for ease of use and access, but Ethan knew that nine times out of ten they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn door with one when bullets started flying. No, if you were using a pistol effectively then you were already closer to the fight than he wanted to be.

“And I’m damn well using it as my primary if I’m paying that much for it,” he muttered as he looked at the accompanying price tag.

Scrolling to the bottom of the page, he was relieved to see that the thread continued.

(Showing page 6 of 7)

CopKiller69 (Member)

Replied on July 16th 2019:

Got a King in the stomach with one today. Should have heard him scream like a piggy. Was downright magical to watch him try to scoop his guts back in.

Best. Gun. Ever.

HumanBeing (Member) (Unit Leader)

Replied on July 16th 2019:

CopKiller69: Let me guess, former Blood Hounds member? Seems we’re taking in anyone these days.

Finish him off quickly next time. The Saints at least like to pretend we’re better than the average thug.

Sebas_Tian (Member)

Posted On July 17th 2019:

Bronte: Do you know when Mechromancer’s gonna get more Red-Eye’s in? Girl at the desk said she didn’t know, and they’ve been sold out the last two times I’ve been in. Really need to get one. Manacle’s been sighted a few times round my block.

Bronte (Original Poster) (Member) (Meta) (Block Captain)
Posted On July 18th 2019:

Sebas_Tian: Erich should be restocking the Red-Eye in conjunction with his release of his latest products.

The M2S3-X1 ‘Hot-Shot’ Carbine:

Based on the frame of the M2S3, the Hot-Shot Carbine functions as a longer-range alternative to the classic Red-Eye. In addition the added stock, barrel length and coolant sheathe, the Hot-Shot has a heavy-duty powerpack slung under the barrel. This allows for a weapon with greater ammo capacity and firing speed than its predecessor, albeit at the cost of size and weight.

The MXD2 ‘Helot’ Sentry Drone

An entry level sentry drone, the Helot provides around the clock automated security to the customer on a budget. While neither particularly durable or adaptable, the Helot has the same basic programming suite as any other drone that may be found on the market. It is capable of utilizing firearms, patrolling in a set pattern, following an individual, and performing basic threat recognition.

Note: Firearm not included.

BeaverFur (Member) (Meta) (Unit Leader)
Replied on July 18th 2019:

The product description pretty much says it all. The Hot-Shot’s a beefier version of the Red-Eye. It’s got an ammo capacity of one hundred rounds rather than twenty, can fire for longer before overheating, and the stock reduces what little recoil was already there. The only downside is that it’s heavier, and you can’t conceal it. If you’re walking around with this thing, everyone’s going to know it. Whether that’s a positive or a negative is up to you.

As for the drone, I’ve got no idea. Saw a few in the shop while I was there. They look nothing like the one that sits behind the counter. Think the girl called it ‘Limpy?’ Weird fucking name for a drone. Thing doesn’t even limp.

The Helots on the other hand look like they’re held together by scrap and duct tape. Make no mistake, these things aren’t going to survive more than a few rounds before falling apart, if that. Still, they tracked me as I walked in, walked around, and they were holding their guns without falling over. So I suppose if you desperately need a drone for dirt cheap, you could do worse.

Not really much of a drone guy though, so I could be wrong.

TechnoFangirl (Member) (Block Leader)

Replied on July 19th 2019:

Beaver’s not wrong. I bought one to run a few tests. Ran it through a little obstacle course, before shooting a few targets. It passed.

If only barely.

Now this might not seem too impressive, until you consider the price of the things. A ‘proper’ sentry drone will cost the same as a decent car (bought not stolen), so these things are basically a bargain.

If I didn’t already have a dozen Omni-Tech drones already I would be filling out my ranks with these. As it is I’m recommending anyone in my block get one. They’re an extra set of hands (and a gun) in a fight, if nothing else.

Edit: And yes, one of the ones I picked up was using a reversed Omni-Pad as its primary visual system. When I say these things are cheap, I do mean cheap.

Edit: Edit: Strangest thing, I’ve pulled mine apart, and I still can’t find the Meta-Tech component. If anyone’s having better luck please PM me.

Ethan lost interest after that. The rest of the comments pretty much said the same thing.

“Hot-Shot, huh…” he murmured, glancing over at the attached price tag. The number made him suck air through his teeth.

It wasn’t a small amount. Not even close.

But is it worth more than your life? Came unbidden to him. Of their own accord, his eyes flicked upstairs.

No, no it wasn’t.

Saving the address of the shop to his phone, he made a mental note to head straight there after the kids left for school. His Block Leader would be pissed that he was late for his patrol, but he figured it would be worth it if it reduced the risk of the store selling out before he arrived.

Even a quick glance through the rest of the comments told him how popular these guns were getting, and he knew it was only a matter of time before demand outgrew supply.

It always did where Artificers were concerned.

Might even pick up one of those drones while I’m at it, he thought.

Who knew when a chance like this would come again? The guy could only make so many.

It wasn’t like the things were built on an assembly line.

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SoggyRedToast

Bio: A supervillain in the making

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