Spray Painted Cinders

October 17th, 20XX

“Is this thing on? Eh, I’ll see once I figure out how to upload footage from this old piece of junk to my computer. Anyways, uh, I dunno who I’m recording this for, but I guess this is a safe place for me to keep a log. Uh, this is just a test, so I’ll end the recording now and make a new one if it works! Signing off for now.”

October 18th, 20XX

“It worked! This means I can say whatever I want on this thing, and no bugged mics or cams are gonna stop me! Lisa’s gonna be so excited when she hears about this! Oop, I should probably introduce myself in case someone decides to watch these later on. My name’s Mark Robinson. I’m a scientist who works for the Tri-Lana government. Though me and my wife, Lisa, don’t exactly agree with their tactics of hiding  everything that goes on backstage. This machine I’ve constructed with Lisa should start recording the minute it picks up vocal audio. Tomorrow, I’ll show Lisa the machine, and maybe soon I’ll even show my son too.”

October 19th, 20XX

“Is this it?”

“Yep! Doesn’t she run well?”

“She does…Did you make sure to install the silent motors that I gave you?”

“Right there, in the back.”

“Well then, I think you’ve gotten everything. Good job, hon!”

“Thanks! But anyways, we should focus our attention on the prototype.”

“Speaking of which, I’ve just finished training the AI to place into the system!”

“Awesome! Oh, is Jack asleep?”

“Been out since nine. Poor kid seems more tired with every passing school day.”

“Poor kid…”

November 1st, 20XX

“I’ve made a mistake. I swear that one of the guards at the lab was eyeing me, and I think they may be on to the fact I’ve been smuggling spare parts and chemicals. Apparently Lisa was prompted about me during lunch break, bless her that she acted like everything was normal. Luckily, the parts I got today allowed me to finish the prototype prosthetics I’ve been working on. I still have yet to find out how to test their capabilities, but they should be as fully functional as any artificial intelligence entity within Tri-Lana City. All right on your arms too!” 

November 13th, 20XX

“Stay with me, buddy. Stay with me!”

“Jack, please…Mom and Dad will find a way to fix this!”

“Can we get him to the hospital?”

“And give them a chance to look into us more? No, we need to deal with this here.”

“Oh, my poor baby…Do something, Mark!”

“I’m THINKING, Lisa!”

“M-mom…? D-D-dad…?”


“What’s wrong, Jack?”

“I…I can’t feel my arms…”

“Oh, Jack…”

“His nerves are dying. Jack, was the liquid those boys threw on you a light blue?”


“Then it’s mech droid acid. That means we don’t have much time before his arms completely disintegrate.”

“He needs a doctor!” 

“No..What he needs is an invention. Lisa, grab the prototype!”

“What?! Are you crazy??”

“Hurry or our son is going to die!” 

“Oh, alright. Hang in there, Jack!” 

“While you’re at it, grab the anesthesia and scalpel! Jack, can you hear me?”

“Y-yeah dad…”

“You’re gonna be alright..Ok? Alright. Everything’s gonna be ok…”

“Mark, I have them. Do we start the procedure?”

“We have no choice. Jack, listen to me carefully. You’re going to go to sleep soon, and when you wake up, everything will be back to normal. Understand?”

“M…mhm…Will it h-h-hurt?”

“You won’t feel a thing, babe. Just close your eyes as Mom and Dad do our work.”

“Put him under anesthesia…”

“Be strong, Jack…”

“Ready, Lisa?”

“My son will die if I’m not. Grab the scalpel and start slicing near the shoulders…”

November 18th, 20XX

“Jack’s impromptu surgery was a success! Best part of all, the prototype fits perfectly on him! The robo-kinetics function smoothly, Jack reports heightened feelings in his arms, and the AI system is beginning to sync with his body and become more personalized! I call this experiment a full success!”

November 25th, 20XX

“He did WHAT!?”

“Stop yelling! You’re overreacting!”

“I’m allowed to overreact at the fact that the POLICE ARE HUNTING OUR SON! Explain yourself, Mark!”

“Alright, alright. Let me check if any information from the AI reveals anything…There!”

“Let me see!”

“It…looks like those same boys jumped poor Jack again. This time in the cafeteria.”

“Why didn’t he tell us about this? If he’s getting bullied why not stand u-”

“It’s General Taza’s son.”

“Oh my goodness, that’s why…Poor thing was afraid of that bully and the power his dad holds…”

“That’s not the worst part. Judging by the news cams, Jack must’ve gotten angry, and the AI read that as a threat, launching the mechanical fists  straight into the Taza boy’s face. Then Jack ran.”

“Mark…What have we done to our son?”

“Lisa, it’s going to be ok. Jack’s a smart boy. He’ll know to lay low until we can find him.”

“I know but what does this mean for us? They’ll know Jack has an unregistered electronic, one that’s a weapon, on top of that! Plus, this would be the perfect chance for them to use any evidence they have against us!”

“LISA! Calm down, no one is going to come for us. All we can do now is hope our little Jack makes the right decisions.”

“I….I guess you’re right…Oh, I’m just so worried…”

“You have every right to. But we’re scientists. We don’t jump to conclusions, remember? If we’ve done our procedures right, everything will work out in the end.”

November 30th, 20XX

“Hide anything that needs to be preserved; they’ll be here any second!”

“All the important things are packed away. Should I hide the recording machine too?”

“Yes! Actually, press the green panel on the side, that should make it invisible to the electronic sensors they’ll put through here. Then hide it behind the bookshelf!”

(Unidentifiable Audio)

“Hey! Get away from me!”

Markus Robinson, you are under arrest.

“Get your mechanical hands off me!”

My grip on you shall be removed on one of two conditions being met. One being the admittance that you, Markus Robinson, ID MK-819, along with Lisa Khansid, ID LK-216, have illegally stolen materials and resources from Tri-Lana City Labs, used the materials to conspire against the government of Tri-Lana, and crafted an unregistered weapon that is now in the hands of Jack Robinson-Khansid, ID JR-870.

“I’ll never admit to anything, you soulless bastards!”

“We’d rather die than help you any longer!”

“Let them down, ya bugger. I wanna talk to these blokes.”

Condition 2 has been met. Releasing captive upon General Taza’s orders.

“There’s no way you win this one, mates. Security at the lab’s been talkin’ a whole lot about the lovey-dovies stealin’ spare parts. C’mon then, open ya trap an’ talk!”

“You’ll get nothing out of me, you creep!”

“Watch. Your. Tone. I’d be hella careful what ya next words are, mate. Ya talkin’ to the daddy o’ the boy yours near killed!”

“Your son deserves to burn in hell after the things I saw him do to mine! ”


“Your son has been attacking my Jack for god knows how long! He almost disabled, and dare I say, killed mine!”

“Heh. So that’s what me spawn did to get bashed up the way he did. Certainly takes a page outta his old man’s book! Ah ha ha ha!”

“How could you laugh at this? Don’t you see what you’re doing to people? Making us mindless, soulless slaves to work under your heel?”

“Heh. I reckoned a science fellow like you woulda gotten that a bit soona. Take ‘em away, 09.”

Capture orders reestablished. Capturing targets.

“Get away from me!”

“Don’t touch her!”

“Now, now, don’t worry about it too much, mates. It’ll just be life in prison ‘til your bastard boy shows up. HA HA HA!”

(Inaudible Noises)




Battery Low. Shutting off recording until recharge is provided.



“Dammit.” I said with a sigh. “This thing eats up batteries like a starved alley cat.” I stood up and threw the machine back onto the rusty table. 

If you wish to retrieve more batteries” a soothing yet sophisticated voice spoke. It was slightly muffled, as if someone were keeping a shirt over it. “The General store on 12th Street closes in ten minutes, and they still haven’t repaired the faulty window. Estimated 20 minute mission.” I rolled the sleeve of my dark green jacket to look at my arm, the mechanical pieces in it silently humming with power and knowledge. A faint blue light shone out of a tiny screen on the bottom of my wrist, and a little hologram materialized from it in front of my face, showing a clear path to the general store. I shook my head.

No, AIPA. I need to loosen my dependency on this thing,” I said sternly. 

AIPA, the Artificial Intelligence Prosthetics Android that lives in my arms, canceled the mission. 

Very well, Master Khansid.” AIPA said, in the same tone as always. Suddenly, a white clock icon appeared on the small screen and played a small ringing animation. “It is nearly 10 PM. There are no officers near Blossom Avenue, and the security guards will be using the bathroom in approximately 10 minutes.

“Hmpf. Just as expected. Get the hoverboard prepared while I get ready.” 

I took my small, green-rimmed glasses off my face and wiped the lenses on the soft spot of my paint-encrusted jacket. Checking to make sure not a speck could get in the way of my vision, I grabbed my mask off the wall and placed it on my face. It’s black as night, with two light metal plates on either side to allow me to breathe, all while protecting my lungs from spray paint, and protecting my face from being plastered all over the news.

I turned to hear the hoverboard humming behind me.

Shall we go, Master Khansid?”, AIPA asked as I grabbed the board and made my way out of my hideout which was on top of an abandoned skyscraper, overlooking the cyber city many people call their home. I walked to the edge of the building and looked down, to the bright streets with electric cars moving smoothly along rail lines.

“Yes. Those guards won’t take long to finish pissing”, I replied to AIPA as I placed the board under my foot, moving it slightly over the edge. “AIPA?”, I asked, as I looked down to the drop I was about to fall down.

Yes, Master Khansid?”, AIPA replied.

“How many times do I have to remind you not to call me that?”, I growled. “Call me what everyone else calls me.” AIPA made a noise that I could only assume was an AI’s version of a sigh.

Very well then. Stop wasting time and let’s go, Techkhan”, AIPA replied. I huffed.

“There we go. Wasn’t so hard, was it?”, I asked. Not waiting for an answer, I leaned forward on the board, pushing me over the edge and falling faster and faster towards the ground. The hoverboard swiftly lit up and began using its magnetic technology to stabilize itself, sending me speeding down the streets of the City of Tri-Lana. Dodging cars, people, and obstacles like it was nothing is normal to me. Just feeling the rapid air running through my slick, curly black hair gave me a sense of comfort. A sense of being alive. Every now and then, I’d hear a scream of terror or see people stop and look at me in horror. I smile at the sight of it.


Tonight’s going to be a great night.


I reached the destination, my hoverboard automatically shutting off as my movement slowed. I crept into an alleyway and immediately put my hood up. That, combined with my darker than average brown skin, I blend in perfectly into the shadows.

“AIPA, report on security guards”, I spoke quietly. AIPA’s screen flickered as it intercepted the security footage from inside the building I was hiding behind. 

Coast is clear, but still be aware of guards, Master Khansid”, AIPA replied, as it pointed an arrow at the large wall on the front of the building. A big, white wall with nothing more than the company logo, ‘Terian Robotics’, in a dull, boring monochromatic color. 

“Techkhan, I literally told you this less than five minutes ago.” I sighed as I made my way to the wall.

I pulled out two cans of spray paint from my belt and shook them before aiming at the wall and pressing the buttons. Red and green paint came hissing from within the cans, masking the dull colors of my new canvas. Using my arms, I extended my reach to every little corner of the large wall, painting over every little crack and crevice. Then, I pulled out a special canister full of my specially made dark green paint. I had an almost endless supply of it, thanks to the fact that the pigment comes from used battery acid. Dumps in the city happen to be chock full of it too. 

Feeling good about my piece, I took a step back to admire it. Red and green decked the once white wall, and covered the dull logo along with it too. My signature green paint drew the words out clearly for anyone to see. “TECHKHAN’S TERRITORY”. I smiled at the sight of it. 

Very good, Master”, AIPA congratulated. “Would you like to see the aerial view?”, It asked.

“Sure. Pull it up”, I replied as AIPA activated the hologram, showing me the sky view. I liked it. Suddenly, I noticed something in the hologram. “AIPA, zoom in on the right-hand side corner”, I said. 

I could now see the alleyway that stood behind me. Sure enough, my suspicions were correct, as I could see two figures looking right at me, holding what could only be a….

“ROCKET LAUNCHER!,” I cried as I dove out of the way of the explosive, which missed me and hit the wall in the corner, blasting it to bits. Out of the darkness, two hooligans in colored mohawks and black vests waltzed out, laughing like hyenas.

“Hey! You missed our present!” One with painfully bright blue hair laughed.

“C’mon Techky! Don’t ya know how to laugh every once in a while?”, the other in pink hair mocked. “How about we see you smile under that mask o’ yours?” 

“You’re playin’ a dangerous game here, Techkhan. Pastin’ your markings over Slicer turf?”, the blue one taunted. I scoffed.

“Last I checked, you slicers are supposed to stay behind Tenth Street”, I replied gruffly. “I suggest you go back to where you came from, unless you want me to shove that spiky hair up your asses.”

The grunts looked at each other and laughed.

“Looks like he can make a joke after all!” The pink one laughed.

The blue one pulled out a small knife, while the other cracked his knuckles.

“Let’s show this lanky loner what it means to be a Slicer!”, the blue one cried.

“You asked for it,”, I muttered as I charged towards them. The grunts yelled as they ran towards me.

Running towards each other, the blue one and I were almost on top of each other, but at the last second, I extended my arm with a rocket punch. With a swift crack to the skull, he doubled back and dropped the knife, holding his face as he watched blood drip from his mouth. 

I swung my arm under the legs of the pink one, knocking him off balance. He hit the ground with a loud THUD. I watched as both the grunts groaned in pain.

“What’s wrong?”, I asked mockingly. “I thought you were defending your so-called turf.” The pink one tried to get up. But I stomped on his hand, fingers crunched under my foot as he screamed in pain. I leaned down to look him in the face.

“Give me one good reason to not kill you right now”, I said. The confidence had run away from his face, and now was filled with sweet, sweet fear. His breath stuttered and blood dripped down from his lips. The other grunt struggled to his feet and pointed at me.

“W-w-we’re not done yet! We’ll die for the glory of the Slicer Ga-” I decided to cut his speech short by launching one of my fists at his face. The grunt staggered back as he hit the ground again, eyes wide. I took my foot off the pink grunt and walked over to the blue one slowly, not taking my eyes off of him. I leaned in towards his face.

“Then your death will be in vain”, I growled as I flung another fist into his face, causing his eyes to roll back as he fell to the ground, lifeless. 

I turned back to the other grunt, who was in disbelief, still clutching his hand, trying to back away from me.

“P-p-please don’t kill me! I’ll leave Slicer Gang, the city even! Please, I’ll do anything!”, the grunt cried. I stopped walking towards him and crossed my arms as I looked at him. His breath was stuttered and tears were running from his eyes. I frowned as I picked up the dropped knife and threw it into his face.

All threats are eliminated, Master”, AIPA noted.

“Good”, I replied. “I was getting tired of all that talking.” I turned back to the massive hole in the wall where the rocket was fired, where my words,  ‘TECHKHAN’S TERRITORY’, was still as bright as day on the wall. 

Speaking of bright, I didn’t happen to notice the time. It was almost 5 AM. The barriers that lock people inside would withdraw at 5:30, and they would begin to flock the streets. 

“Why didn’t you warn me of the time, AIPA?”, I asked sternly.

Master, with all due respect, I don’t think the time would have been necessary in any scenario involving the Slicers”, AIPA replied.

I fired up the hoverboard as I shook my head. Forget it, I just need to head home. I’d call tonight a success.