There's something about a high-up apartment with a balcony overlooking the Bay. What it is, I wouldn't know, but to two anthro German Shepherds, it is a very tangible and real something.
"So, bro, how was the day at the office today?" said the first, in the way of getting some dialog going.
"Eh. Same old, same old. A few irritable customers, a few sweet machines rolling through, too much paperwork, not enough grease... oh! And one opportunity I don't think you'll want to pass up." The second dog stopped looking out over the moonlit waters to quirk a mischevious grin at his older brother. "That is, as long as the great writer David Atheos hasn't lost his touch with a bike..."
Growling playfully, the older dog shook his head. "Golly, I'm..." he began, but was quickly cut off by a clearly unplayful growl from his brother, who enuncuated "Go-lie-ath. Goliath. If you keep calling me Golly, I swear, one of these days I'll use your manuscripts for newspaper..."
Grunting in acknowledgement, David reached over to ruffle the short fur between his brother's ears. "Bro, you're so full of yourself sometimes... and I'd call you out on it, but you're right, you're not a pup anymore." He raised a querying brow, and the responding nod from Goliath was enough to clear the air. "So, what's this about touching bikes?"
Tail unconsciously flipping from side to side, the younger shepherd broke into another grin. "Couple punks on some foreign bumblebees came in to rag on the wheels I was working on, said Americans couldn't make a good motorcycle anymore. I'll skip the details, and just say there's a race on the books now. Stock Harley against stock-junk, and custom Harley against whatever they can cook up.... and before you let that glint in your eye get too far, no, you don't get to ride Jez."
David looked momentarily wounded, but Jezebel, Goliath's pride and joy, was not a bike he expected he'd ever even get to touch, say nothing about ride. Still, it would have been nice.
"You know stock bikes inside out, though," continued Goliath, "and there'd be little better than showing 'em up in both races, one of which by some starvin' writer..."
It was now David's turn to object, albeit quietly. "Just got a bad case of writer's block, is all..." and turn away to look back over the bay again. "At least as far as anything new goes. I could hack off some drawn-out low quality fluff like that Ribbert Jordin does, but nothing I could be proud of..."
"Do you want to be proud, or do you want that cute poodle down the street to have to put her paw on you to count your ribs rather than being able to count 'em just by looking?" jabbed the younger dog. David looked startled. "What cute poodle?" Goliath grinned knowingly and, in a suggestive tone, replied "If you ever stop looking like a stray look might blow you over, perhaps you'll find out."
Shaking his head, David pointed to a odd beam of light shifting about erratically. "Hey, is there a spotlight party going on?"
Following his older brother's attention, Goliath scratched his head. "Not that I know of... and it's moving around, too... mobile... wow, look at it swinging...."
The next few moments of dialog are, alas, lost to history... though, most likely, they consisted of surprised grunts and a bit of waving paws before faces as the bright light swung across the pair. Fortunately, these were not to be last words, famous or otherwise, and once the beam had passed, the two brothers looked at eachother, shrugged, and continued talking about David's fiction writing, Goliath's Harley garage, the upcoming race, and the view of the bay, the light fading quickly from both their view and their conversation.
And, as tends to happen, time passed.
Televisions and radios began showing more reports on the Avatar phenomenon.
Pinkerdroids began terminating and collecting Avatars.
David and Goliath pursued their own business, hanging out together many evenings in their shared apartment.
The day of the race approached.
Decked out in subtly studded biking leathers and aerodynamic racing helmets, two German Shepherds, one long and lanky, the other more of the short-and-stocky persuasion, pulled up to the pre-designated starting line, the characteristic synchopated growling of their mismatched Harleys heralding their entrance. At the same time, the buzzing, high-pitched whine of highly tuned foreign engines announced the arrival of the competitors. Looking past their faceplates, David mentally took note of the other drivers... a chihuahua on the custom rig, and a rather fetching siamese on the stock bike. The former looked to be male, though with those little yippy-dogs you can never really tell, but the latter... David had to remind himself that he didn't go in for cats.
Dismounting from their machines, engines still running, the four approached for a brief tete-a-tete, introductions first.
"David" said David
"Goliath" said his brother
"Jose" announced the chihuahua
"Jynx" sneered the siamese.
"Ground rules," explained Goliath, "No contact. Offroading means you forfeit. Same for causing an accident or getting busted. Custom loser," he dictated, glancing at Jose, "pays for dinner for four at the stock winner's place of choosing. Stock loser pays for the drinks. And, of course, veto power and bragging rights are accorded to the custom winner..." he grinned and bowed slightly... a motion his brother caught, but fortunately missed by the competitors. "Oh, and no intervention from supermen." he added offhandedly, for times had indeed been changing recently.
Little more needed to be said. In fact, after the race route had been agreed on, nothing more was necessary, and the four saddled up again. The custom racers pulled up to a nearby stoplight and, on the green, shot off into the late evening city streets. As the light turned red, David and his feline counterpart pulled up to the light, waiting for the green and their turn to go. Engines gunning, his a low throaty rumble, hers sounding like an aircraft turbine, they tensed as the crosswise light flicked to yellow, and tore off into traffic as theirs turned green.
Let it be said, here and now, that motorcycle racing through sometimes busy city streets is, on a stock or a custom racing machine, not very safe or considerate. Nor, in most places, is it even remotely legal. Imagine, if you will, a high speed chase stacked on a high speed chase. In the lead, two custom bikes, dodging, weaving, and open-stretching at rather ridiculous speeds. Not all that far behind them, two stock machines driven with enough skill to fool the uninitiated as to the quality of the vehicles. And, bringing up the rear, mounted PinkerDroid units on traffic patrol duty who intended to follow the first pair but didn't pull out until the second had flashed past, presenting easier targets.
Continue to imagine the public endangerment that follows, the lead bikes focused solely on their competition, the middle bikes bent both on victory and evasion of the law, and the tail bikes rather intent on enforcement of quite a number of laws... but not necessarily the laws the bikers are worried about violating. Look now into the mechanical mind of a persuit droid...
Secondary directive: Apprehend and serve four major moving violations; reckless endangerment, excessive and unsafe speed, illegal lane usage...
Primary directive: Apprehend three drivers identified by routine paranormal scan as Avatars. Citizen database entries Goliath Atheos, David Atheos, Jynx Lin, no existing Avatar database entries...
Somewhere, somehow, in means the GM is much more privy to than I, numbers are assigned, database entries are created, and David (1192), Goliath (1193) and Jynx (1195) are marked men... and woman... whatever.
Jynx, whose abilities live up to her name, is, despite all appearances, responsible for the bananna peel that actually sends one Droid careening out of control. Also for a number of convenient traffic anomalies that make pursuit difficult. Truly, if it weren't that she and David were both skilled racers on high performance vehicles (albeit stock models), it might be fair to say she was responsible for their evasion of capture at that juncture. As it was, though, she just helped.
Unfortunately, PinkerDroids with Databases are not stupid. But we'll get to that in a moment.
David, not having noticed that Jynx (as well as the following droids) took on, at points, a rather transparent appearance, raced on, and could be found sometime later making the choice that the foursome would dine at The Pink Cadillac, an Elvis-themed thick-burger joint. Jose footed the main bill, while Jynx paid for drinks and Goliath bragged (having no desire to veto the luscious chunks of quality meat they serve up.)
Later that night, David and Goliath headed back to their apartment, regaling eachother with exciting highlights of the race, and Goliath jibing his brother on the subject of females, and in particular making accusations that he's taken up cat-chasing. They trudged up the numerous flights of stairs, family quirk regarding avoidance of elevators showing through despite the long day, and plodded into the modest pad. Just before David flipped on the light switch, he thought he saw something glowing at about head level...
But, once the lights were on, it turned out to only be a luminescent optical sensor of a PinkerDroid. The doorway was suddenly crowded as a couple more Droids took up position in the hallway. Let us look for a moment through David's eyes...
Seeing the Droids there, being fully aware (he thought) of his violations, and not having the rebellious streak of his little brother, David shrugged and silently held out his arms pre-emptively for reception of cuffs. Cuffs, indeed, were snapped on, and David watched in only half-surprise as Goliath bolted sideways, though with what final destination is anyone's guess.
David was, however, quite surprised when one of the Droids raised a arm and fired some strange sort of blaster, a development that had accompanied the Avatar research. He was, perhaps, even more surprised when the firing Droid seemed to become somewhat transparent upon discharging its weapon, the beam of which had a similar transparency. That the beam went right through Goliath with no visible effect was the final real surprise.
That, at a time like this, some back corner of David's mind would start churning on the potential for a story, was no surprise at all.
The apparently translucent PinkerDroid, along with the one that had cuffed David, ran after Goliath. The first tried to grab the younger Shepherd, but its arms passed right through as if they weren't there. The second tried, and had a very usual effect. I.e. both brothers were now apprehended.
Again, time passes, and both David and Goliath are in a concentration camp, being tagged after by WaterDroids 1192 and 1193. Jynx, for all David knows, could be anywhere. Both the brothers have been informed that they are being detained because they are Avatars, much to the confusion of the pair of dogs, who are unaware of anything different in themselves. In the internment camp, however, they have noticed something strange about many other Avatars... who are quite undeniably abnormal. Namely, whenever they exhibit supernatural abilities, they become translucent for a while, and do not stop until the abilities haven't been in use for a while. Some 'magical' types even seem to be perpetually transparent. The brothers have discussed this with eachother, and made conjectures regarding how this effect even seems to plague some of the Pinkerdroids using Avatar-Era technology, but aside from the omnipresent WaterDroids, have not shared their opinions with anyone else. And, with the Droids watching, they have become increasingly subtle in their references, especially those regarding the Droids being transparent.