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Prince McCastor

"Can't help but be the best looking person in the room."

0 · 551 views · located in MCU Headquarters

a character in “Born in the Light of Eyes”, as played by Quakernuts

Description

Life Will Change
Power Glove
Lone Digger


I’m not bitter, this coffee is, I’m just a man who’s heavily influenced by the taste of my caffeine!


Prince Fillion McCaster
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INTRODUCTION
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-B A S I C S-
Name: Prince Fillion McCaster
Aliases/Nicknames: ‘Princess’, ‘Filly’, ‘Irish’
Age: 29
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Birthplace: Sonder City
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Religion: Agnostic
Education: High school diploma, Bachelor’s Degree from the Sonder City University of Law.
Augmented: Yes



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PHYSICALITY
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-A P P E A R A N C E-
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Green
Skin Tone: Slightly Tanned
Height: 6’1
Weight: 192 lbs
Build: Muscular but not overly. Prince is caught somewhere between a runner’s build and a weight lifter, giving him a very evenly spread build that can be used for intimidation purposes.
Body Markings: A few scars, mostly from blades, litter his chest and lower back. His right shoulder has a small burn mark about the size of one’s fist.

-D E S C R I P T I O N-
Prince is a man who values his own self image, often to the point of taking his own first name a bit too seriously. All of his clothes are finely pressed and clean, lacking in any wrinkles or other marring features. Tight trimmed vests, dress shirts that cling to his frame and immaculate working pants that range in color but you would never find him in just jeans. His shoes are also something that draw attention, mostly from the sheen undoubtedly caused by the amount of wax used to keep them this way. Regardless, they are always fashionable and functional, fully formed dress/running shoes that allow him to move with ease. In fact, if one were to look a bit closer at the detective, they would notice the ever so slight bulk to his attire that allows him to move without restrictions. Despite his outward appearance, that of the dancing peacock, everything Prince wears allows him his full range of motion should he have a need to get extremely physical at a moment’s notice. Despite his attire, Prince absolutely hates hats, deeming them ‘destroyers of hair and precious looks’. He’ll wear jackets, but even then they are of the designer kind. They are somewhat flashy yet functional, often holding multiple pockets in order for him to carry everything that he needs to. In other words, he’s a very fashionable cop, sometimes too much so as it can sometimes make him a target in places where he really should be laying low.

All of this accentuates a frame that is more than capable of dealing out damage should it come down to it. Maybe the reason Prince feels like he can flaunt his stuff is because he looks very much like a man you shouldn’t tangle with. It isn’t necessarily because he’s overly muscular, even if he is rather fit, or because he has the look of a man with a tragic past, of which he most certainly doesn’t have. It’s because he has an air of confidence, a perceived notion that everything will go his way regardless of the circumstance. His combed hair, gleaming green eyes and cocky smile that leads itself to a self esteem more akin to those of royalty all lead into an impression that maybe this man is confident for a reason. He could be called classically handsome, if you were to take everything else away from him. His jawline isn’t necessarily well defined, his beard could be called lacking even if he can grow a pretty decent mustache and ultimately he can be overshadowed by the more muscular of his gender fairly easily. Despite this, it’s his natural confidence that seems to pull in more looks than his actual...well, looks.

Off the clock sees little change in Prince’s attire. He’ll switch to more casual clothes, but casual clothes to him means finely pressed slacks, a polo with lots of color and pop, and a number of aesthetics ranging from shades to rings to even the odd earring. A smile can easily be seen on his face during these times, when he truly stops being a cop for a short time and allows his inner college frat boy out. His jackets change ever so slightly, becoming even flashier and with less substance. These are the times he lets his guard down just a little, and it shows as he appears to enjoy whatever time he has away from his desk and the gritty life of a SCPD detective.





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MENTALITY
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-P E R S O N A L I T Y-
Prince could be called an actor, and it’s hard to really pin down how he’s feeling at any point in time. Mostly he acts as if nothing ever gets to him, shrugging things off as easily as one breathes. He smiles, nods, and makes an odd quip or two about a situation that would normally not be socially acceptable to talk about in such a manner. This sort of behaviour pulls him away from most of the other detectives within the MCU ranks, often looking at him as immature or foolish. Stubborn and reckless could go in that bucket of adjectives for him as well, considering his habit of not understanding when to back down. He’ll push things to the breaking point, and then continue pushing until the threshold breaks and the floodwaters nearly drown him. On top of this, he has a somewhat annoying air of confidence around him that has lead other detectives to believe that, at one point in his life, he was a con artist. They don’t have any evidence nor any solid reasoning as to why a con artist would ever pursue a career in law enforcement, especially at the MCU level, but the thought is there. Ultimately, at worst, Prince can and often does come across as a cocky arrogant child who prefers to bash his way through things instead of thinking things through.

This is the part where he would inform you of how bad you are at figuring out the truth. While it is true that Prince can and will act in a way that is more befitting of someone half his age, underneath this is someone who is completely driven to find answers and will work hard for them. His stubbornness and reckless abandon turn into determination and ambition. He’s a man who finds pleasure in a challenge, who relishes the opportunity to prove he’s better than someone. Not only that, but with this particular career, he’s doing it to help Sonder City as well. He’s not necessarily kind or compassionate, but he has his own way of displaying his generosity and selflessness. He’ll work day in and day out if the threat is something that could endanger lives, either small or large, and push himself to win at all costs. In some ways, he treats his job as a game where the difficulty level sometimes spikes without warning, forcing him to adapt or die. It’s during these moments that you really see him shine and understand that, despite his outward appearance and personality, Prince is with the MCU for a reason. That reason being that he’s a damn good detective.

Along with his work ethic and ability to focus on the task at hand with an almost religious devotion, Prince is capable of normal human emotion. Most of the time, he acts the way he does because he either doesn’t want things such as guilt, sadness, rage or other to get in the way, but at the times when he feels like it’s ok to let something out, these are when you get a glimpse of what really goes through his head. He shrugs things off not because they don’t affect him, but because they do. He’s not above crying to himself when he fails and someone dies because of it, he’s not above being so angry that he’ll put his fist through a wall or go on a screaming rant. He’s not above being so guilty that he’ll drink himself into a stupor just to forget, he’s simply very good at compartmentalizing. Many people seem to forget that he’s just a normal human guy, but because he acts the way he does, they shove him off as someone who doesn’t realize the impacts of his actions and personality. He does all too well, but refuses to be the downtrodden detective that everyone seems to think that the MCU are, so he plays himself up a bit and enjoys doing it. At the end of the day, when he’s alone and can finally think for himself without having to worry about everyone around him, he calms down and either gets to work or vents out his repressed emotions in whatever fashion happens to be available to himself.

-Q U I R K S-
  • Makes inappropriate jokes during inopportune moments
  • Is very particular about his clothes, often threatening bodily harm to those who would mess up his attire
  • Licks his teeth when he’s particularly vexed or deep in thought.

-F E A R S-
  • Nanobots: They’re small and can do more things than any person or machine could otherwise do. If the machines rebel, guess who’s going to be wearing a hazmat suit into the war.
  • Drowning: While there’s not many opportunities for this fear to actualize, due to a traumatic childhood incident, Prince is very hesitant when it comes to swimming of any kind. This isn’t to say he can’t, but he will explore every other option first.
  • Hacking: With the implant in his head, Prince is always somewhat scared of the fact that someone somewhere will figure out how to access it and either make his head explode or somehow take control of him.

-E T H I C S / V A L U E S-
Despite whatever people may think about Prince and his antics, he has a very strong ethical and moral code that doesn’t allow him to sit idly by when people are in danger, especially when he can do something about it. Even when he could arguably be called the hero, he shrugs it off as he does with so many other things. In the end, Prince has a deep desire to protect people and Sonder City from those who would want to do it harm, even if this intent is not always presented in a manner that people can understand. Even when he’s off the clock, he’s the first one to jump into a fight to protect someone then complain to the person he was defending that they’ll be paying for his tailor to fix up another suit.

On top of this, there are a few traits that Prince values in people. Honesty, bravery, intelligence and determination. If you have even just a couple of these, Prince will often overlook many of your flaws in order to draw upon those values when the time comes. He can respect you, if not outright like you, and for him that’s more than enough. What he doesn’t like is duplicity, subterfuge and conniving sons of bitches. While intelligence could be used to do these things, and he’ll admit that sometimes it is necessary, Prince doesn’t like it and will avoid it where possible. When he’s doing something, he prefers the straight up approach with just the necessary amount of tact depending on the situation. Abuse of this system will lead Prince into hating your guts, regardless of your name or status.

-L I K E S-
  • Sweet Coffee: Prince will admit that he’s not a man who prefers things ‘black’ so to speak. In fact, some people even make fun of him for the amount of sugar he puts into his drink.
  • Good looking clothes: Akin to a diva, Prince is very in tune with the fashions of the time and always manages to look his best regardless of the time. Some people swear that if you were to catch him dead asleep, his hair would still look like it was styled to perfection to fit his slumbering form.
  • Challenges: While this could be said about a number of people, this expands into everything for Prince who is all about proving people and himself wrong. Anything ranging from cases to a video game to dares, Prince will pretty much do anything in order to overcome an obstacle.

-D I S L I K E S-
  • Duplicity: If you say one thing to him, then another to another, he will instantly dislike you. Nothing more to be said.
  • Super Serious Sam: While he admits that his job doesn’t allow for humor or smiles to be abundant, he has a very bad taste in his mouth from people who have forgotten how to live, and tries to distance himself from them. They would just bring him down.
  • Water: Now let’s be reasonable, he has no problem drinking it or showering or what have you, but swimming and anything surrounding that fact will have him shaking his head and walking away.




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ABILITY/GEAR
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-A R M A M E N T-
  • M9v6 Standard Issue Combat Pistol
  • CSK: Crime Scene Kit that allows him to perform minor analysis of a situation without having to wait and rely on CSU personnel. This kit includes such things as: Substance Analysis Scanner, Identification Profiler, and Virtual Scene Replication with integration of a Detective’s implant if one is available.
  • Ballistic Armor: A bit fancier make and model, but same as always. Protective covering for the detective about to go into a fight. Located in his car trunk.
  • K-97 ‘Marco’ Assault Rifle, Police Variant: A fairly standard assault rifle which has been modded for police usage. While capable of pumping out 7.62x39 US rounds, subsonic armor piercing ammunition, an underbarrel attachment allows for the use of non-lethal electrokinetic rounds that disable targets akin to a taser. A green laser sight is attached to the side and a red dot scope is attached to the rail.

-T R A I N I N G-
Despite appearances, Prince has taken several martial arts classes including a new form of self defense called “Jung Ito”, a fighting technique that relies on disables and improvised weapon techniques. Basically it means that everything that is within reach can and will be used to his utmost advantage in order to disable his opponent, be that a very strong blow to the head, or by breaking limbs.

-A U G M E N T A T I O N S-
  • Enhanced Reality Implant (ERI): Created by the Infinity Corporation, this implant provides a virtual interface, which is displayed for the world to see, to manage information about Prince’s own body, his surroundings, as well as theoretical courses of action. The implant takes into account Prince’s body in its current state, and triggered by mental commands, will display potential routes and actions that Prince could take with percentages of success. By no means is this a ‘get out of jail free’ card as Prince will then have to actually enact them but they help in determining what exactly he can do in a given situation. This augmentation also helps with his aim in a tough spot, plotting bullet trajectory to assist him in making that crucial shot at just the right moment.

-M I S C E L L A N E O U S-
There is an extra suitcase in Prince’s car, specifically just underneath his seat in the back. Inside you will find not one, but two extra sets of clothes. In case he has to get down and dirty for his job, he wants to make sure he can quickly get out of what will inevitably be ruined clothes and back to looking great.




_______________________________________
BACKGROUND
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-M A R I T I A L _ S T A T U S-
Complicated

-F A M I L Y-

Tyler McCaster - Father - 53
-A small shop owner in Sonder City, Tyler often gets by with the skin of his teeth for making payments, yet he seems to have a happy enough life. He’s one of the very few stores in the city that could be considered a ‘ma and pa shop’ and despite belonging in a different era, finds it has a cult following in the best sense as a series of regulars love the atmosphere and work to keep the store afloat. Tyler himself is an old soul in all the best ways, with a kind smile and a wise word of advice for anyone willing to listen. It’s almost like he’s not Prince’s father, considering he lacks any sort of arrogant confidence or outwardly childish nature.

Mary-ann McCaster - Mother - 51
-Working as an accountant for the Bruckston Bank, Mary-ann is the real breadwinner of the family although you would never hear her admit this. Where Tyler has a kind and warm soul, Mary-ann is significantly colder and prefers to view the world as a harsh reality that Tyler has failed to acclimatize to. Despite this, she is very much in love with him and their children, and uses her perceived reality to accommodate Tyler’s store and was the driving force behind Prince getting his post secondary education. While she has no patience for childish behaviour, often chastising Prince whenever he displays his typical swagger, she seems to support him no matter the situation.

Crystal McCaster: Little Sister - 16
-The unexpected second child of the McCasters. Crystal was a pleasant accident if you ask Tyler and a ‘unexpected surprise’ for Mary-ann. Crystal is a child that was born into a world that her parents weren’t necessarily ready for her to be in. Considering the fact that she was an unplanned child, neither of the McCasters had planned to support a second child but took the challenge with gusto. Crystal is a surprisingly intelligent child, seeming to have adopted a talent for electrical engineering from nowhere. She’ll coop herself up in her room with nothing but components, and when she comes out she presents her father with some kind of new machine that is capable of automating a part of his store. He always smiles, thanks her, but reminds her that he does everything himself for the same reason that his regulars keep coming to his store. Tyler has slowly been teaching her that the human touch is a wonderful thing worth holding onto, while Mary-ann has been pushing her to realize her potential, so Crystal has been caught in somewhat of a twilight zone where one side is saying that machines aren’t everything, and the other saying that her skills with machines will be her golden ticket.

-O P I N I O N S-

Augmented:
-Considering Prince is technically part of this group, he doesn’t have any feelings good or bad towards those who are augmented. He views them as just people who happen to have a mechanical limb or two, or you know, an implant in their head who sees things through vibrant colors.

AI (Artificial Intelligence):
-A scary thought for Prince, and while he would like to believe he’s open minded, has a hard time thinking anything good can come from artificial intelligence. He’s seen too many horror movies involving rogue machines to be comfortable with the topic. Should he come across one, it would be hard to predict if he would keep his cool or make like chicken little and claim that society was falling.

The Purist Movement:
-A bunch of bigots, pure and simple. Prince has a very hard time not decking these people when he’s forced to interact with them, especially if they happen to learn he has an implant, at which point they are attempting to provoke him into a violent act. This would not only give them ammunition in regards to ‘augmented people are bad’ but would also reflect poorly on the SCPD. He hates them, to put it simply, and wishes their entire movement would just up and collapse in on itself.

The Coalition of Augmented Individuals (CAI):
-While he agrees with their original goals, Prince can’t bring himself to like the CAI. They have turned into the very thing they wanted to save themselves from, and now he finds that a lot of augmented people who commit crimes are now using the organization as a sort of shield or buffer. Every time their name is brought up, it brings more headaches than solutions nowadays, and personally Prince could do without the extra pain in the neck.

-R E L A T I O N S H I P S-

Character Name:

Character Quote
-Character’s Thoughts

-H I S T O R Y-
Prince’s father, Tyler McCaster originally hailed from Limerick, Ireland. When he was 14, his parents joined the program that allowed for an influx to a new city state free from nationalistic law and boundaries. They mainly joined for the adventure though, and to be part of what could potentially be the greatest thing to happen to mankind in centuries. It felt like they were explorers, navigating a brand new land, and they couldn’t wait. When they got selected to join the city state, they flew there immediately and never looked back. They opened up the general store that is still in service today, and provided a local community service to their small slice of heaven in Sonder City. Unfortunately, due to a mixture of illness and simple unfortunate circumstance, both of Prince’s grandparents are now deceased, leaving Tyler to run the store when he was only 19 years old. Barely out of highschool and now given control of a small general store that was so severely behind the times that he wondered if he should sell it. Maybe it was a mix of family reverence and nostalgia, but Tyler couldn’t bear to let the store go, so he ended up managing to keep the store afloat, despite several setbacks.

It was here that he met Mary-ann, who actually stumbled into the store only to get out of the rain. She had passed the building several times, but never actually wandered inside, deeming it to be a backwater little shop filled to the brim with narcotics and potentially unsavory individuals. Instead she was greeted with a homely feel run by a 20 year old Tyler, who simply smiled at her as she entered completely soaked to the bone. He offered her the bathroom to clean herself up, along with amenities should she need them. As they waited for the weather to clear up, they got talking and while nothing happened that initial meeting, it was the start of Mary-ann going out of her way to shop at the store. Three years later they were married, and a year after that Prince was born. At this point, Tyler had already adopted the personality that would become the ever popular presence of the store, and managed to expand it to include a small cafe. There his regulars could come, shop, have a coffee and enjoy themselves for a time. While he didn’t have that many customers, and often times barely managed to keep above the red, Mary-ann worked hard to ensure the store’s success by supplementing it with her own income.

Prince’s childhood was filled with equal amounts of wise insight from his father and harsh reality character building from his mother. Looking back, Mary-ann and Tyler couldn’t have been more different, a fundamentalist and a realist who somehow just melded together. As such, Prince was stuck in an awkward zone, where he was being taught both worlds and yet not ending up in either. Aside from that, Prince mainly grew up as a standard kid. He went to school, had a few friends and got along pretty well. His cocky attitude started to showcase itself early, and despite numerous talking to’s from his father and sometimes harsh punishments from his mother, it never really left him. It got him in trouble a couple of times, nothing that you wouldn’t expect out of a rowdy child. Prince’s desire to become a cop, and later a detective, was mainly in part of a childish taunt. He claimed he would make a great cop, and everyone sneered to the point someone eventually said ‘prove it’. That’s literally how his dream of becoming a member of the MCU started, a challenge that was issued that would take years to bear fruit.

When Prince was 13, his baby sister Crystal was born...much to the surprise of his parents who thought they had been careful this entire time. While abortion had been on the table for a time, it was actually Mary-ann who refused to go through with it. Despite her sometimes chilly exterior, she couldn’t bear to part with her second child in such a manner and instead carried the baby to term. It was here that Prince’s desire to become a cop solidified, because the moment he saw his sister, he wanted to do everything to protect her. A hidden passion to protect others was awakened inside him, and it burned brightly. From then on his course was set.

When he graduated highschool, and with the help of his parents, he managed to get into college with a 2 and a half year course set to earn a bachelor’s degree in law. It was a tough couple of years, where he was forced to really push himself in order to get where he currently resides. It was during this time that he met Pamela, a Sonder City born and raised citizen such as himself. They were taking a couple courses together, and talked to each other a couple of times. They found out they both had a shared interest in plenty of things such as movies, passions, food, you name it. Eventually they got together, and stayed that way for 4 years, never quite tying the knot due to a number of things popping up. Careers were the driving force though, as they always seemed to be either too focused on their career or their limited time off and money was spent on just being together. In the end, while they weren’t married, they eventually took to it as if they were. They both started wearing rings, and despite having no papers that stated otherwise, liked to say they were married to anyone who asked. In the end, you could say it was probably for the best that they didn’t actually get legally hitched.

A few years into his career with the police, Prince ended up on the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team for the SCPD, during which they were dealing with increasing threats from criminal presence. You could say Prince had a crisis of faith here, as he slowly started to realize that the SWAT unit was used as a very blunt hammer to situations that could easily be handled by a spear or a chisel. The excessive force they dealt out always felt wrong to him, save for the times where the threat was most definitely worthy of their talents. There was one incident in particular where SWAT moved into a situation where they shouldn’t have, pressured from the higher ups to simply deal with the incident as quickly as possible. As a result, there were several civilian casualties, but everything was covered up in order to make Sonder City look good in the national view. While Prince was naturally upset about this, he was sure they got the ringleader of the operation. He discussed this with Pamela, who had become a talented prosecution lawyer, who for some reason didn’t seem to share his bit of optimism. He later learned why.

During the trial, one of the ringleader’s henchman was put up as the head of of the crime gang, even though Prince knew he wasn’t. What was worse was that he also knew that Pamela was aware of this, yet she prosecuted him as the leader of the ring and he was found guilty. The Ringleader disappeared into the ether, apparently having enough political connections to get out scott free. Prince, despite his constant protests, was never pulled up as a witness, and everything went back to normal...or so he thought. When he and Pamela finally had a moment alone, he exploded in a rage unlike anything he had ever done. He screamed, he yelled, and he eventually put his hand clear through a wall in pure anger. Pamela remained remarkably calm throughout the ordeal, only raising her voice in order to be heard overtop of Prince, at which point she said the one thing that saw to the destruction of their relationship.

“If I did this, they would make me a partner at the firm.”

This stopped Prince cold, all his anger flushed out of him and he was left with nothing but a deep emptiness that couldn’t be filled. This woman that he loved basically admitted to a crime, to falsifying evidence in order to advance her own career. She allowed someone who had caused so much pain and suffering, not to mention placing a lot of collateral damage blame on SWAT, because she wanted to make more money and have more options later on in life. Pamela tried to argue that if she managed to get high enough, that this incident would never happen again, that she would be able to stop this thing from ever happening again. If she had tried to fight against it, she would have been replaced and black listed. Prince understood it...slightly, but it changed everything. It ruined their relationship as both of them started spending longer hours at work, eventually taking off the makeshift wedding bands they had for each other, and their separation was one of the quietest days of Prince’s life. No words were said as he packed his things and left her apartment for the last time. From there, he faltered for a while, finding solace in simply functioning much like a robot. He performed his duty like the good cop he was, but he was quickly losing who he was.

It wasn’t until he was offered a position within MCU for outstanding conduct, plus a little grease in the wheels thanks to his mother who managed to see her son starting to slip into the abyss, that Prince started feeling like he was himself again. The cases that the MCU looked after mattered, and unlike the ‘enlisted’ of the SCPD, they had the ability to stop corruption within the political landscape. Cases that were dealt with by the MCU were handled on an entirely different level that meant their power was nigh incomparable to those who would try to sway things their way. Prince took the offer and hasn’t looked back. Now, he works as a detective out of the MCU and has done so for the past 3 years. He’s proved his worth time and time again, even if he managed to gain the reputation of being somewhat a joker. He doesn’t allow himself to be as emotionally compromised anymore, steeling himself against the threats of the world so that he can perform his job objectively. He will do everything he can to protect people and make sure the ones trying to harm Sonder City end up either in jail, or in the ground.




Inspiration and credit for the CS goes to Wudgeous and Gray.

So begins...

Prince McCastor's Story

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Character Portrait: Prince McCastor Character Portrait: Atlas
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Wandering through, the life feels like a lie
Fake faces equipped with a fake smile
Can’t you see the truth
With nothing but an electronic eye


Electric country music floated through the entire area late at night. What time was it? Where was he again?

Prince lifted his head from the bar counter, his hair somehow looking purposely disheveled rather than messy from his drunken state. Prince stared at the glass in his hand, empty...just like so many other things in life. Oh man, he had reached the ‘self pity’ state of his liquor tolerance hadn’t he? That meant it was a good time to stop, after all, going to work with a hangover never ended well. Especially when Ryker would spend all morning hounding him and spraying him with something that reminded him of mom’s kitchen. Prince sat up, his eyes half closed as he brought up his free hand to give them a rub. “Did I pass out?”

“Close to it I think.” The bartender said, his gaze looking over the MCU detective as he washed a couple glasses. Luxley Pine, the owner of the Last Stand Bar. Personally, it was Prince’s favorite after work hangout, and the fact that Luxley was a fairly decent man was just icing on the cake in his opinion. “Granted, with your snoring, I thought you were dying. Was about to start running to get the med bot and shock you back into your pitiful life.”

“Aren’t you a ray of sunshine? Did I spit in your coffee or something?”

“You drooled on my counter.”

“You jest sir, the Prince does not drool o-” Prince looked down to see a small puddle where his head had been. “That was there when I got here.”

“I’m 110% positive that it wasn’t.” Luxley said, giving a small smile as he grabbed a rag and starting wiping it up. “Besides, I think you’ve had enough there Detective.”

“You know you’ve always been a good judge of liquor tolerances. When people fall asleep at your counter, you know they’ve had enough.”

“More money for me.” Luxley said, earning a small laugh from the Prince. Prince turned around, running a hand through his hair as he did so to get a better view of the place and see if anyone had showed up while he had been out. How long had he been out? Honestly, it was probably better if he didn’t know. An old fashioned jukebox was belting tunes out to the entire bar, though it had been jury rigged to a sound system that encompassed the entire bar. Old fashioned pool tables littered the area as all sorts of people crowded around them. Cyborgs and humans, officers of the law and the less disreputable. In the Last Stand, it was common courtesy to leave whatever business you had at the door, and for some odd reason it worked.

Of course, there were the odd times when it didn’t.

Almost on cue, the door slammed open to reveal several rowdy gentlemen entering the bar. A couple of them were visibly augmented, but none of them were past their twenties. They were laughing, hanging off of each other’s shoulders and generally enjoying the night. Aside from the rather abrupt entrance that caused everyone’s eyes to snap to the entrance, they were largely ignored. Until they grabbed a pool table and tried to hit the balls like they were baseballs and the cues like they were bats. Luxley slammed his hand on the table, his eyes twitching at the use of his coveted tables. “Hey! You shits! It’s a pool table, not a diamond! Treat it with respect!” The group laughed, tossing the cues haphazardly onto the table before wandering over to one of the metal tables and proceeding to just generally be a nuisance.

This wasn’t the first occurrence of this, to be honest it happened a lot more than one would have liked or expected, but here they were again. After about 10 minutes of the group essentially declaring themselves ‘Lords of the Bar’ (Their words, not Prince’s), Luxley reached under the counter. Prince reached over and placed a hand on his arm. “You know the rules Luxley.”

“They’re being assholes and annoying my customers.”

“You take one shot and I’ll have to arrest you for excessive force.” Luxley looked over at Prince, who unfortunately didn’t look all that authoritative with one of his eyes half closed and his other eye kind of glossed over. Luxley grunted, his beard bristling with annoyance at the fact that not only was Prince right, but he would be forced to arrest him if he did so. Luxley’s hand released the shotgun held under the bar, giving a very exasperated sigh before pulling his arm away from Prince and crossing them in front of him.

“You’re the cop, go deal with them.”

“For what? Being loud?”

“Disrupting my customers.”

“I’m a customer, and I ain’t disrupted.”

“Am I bugging you to go get rid of them?”

“YES!”

“Then you are disrupted, now deal with it.”

Prince stood up from his stool at the counter, giving his shirt a pull down and dusting off the shoulders of his blazer. “Well played sir, well played.” With that being said, he walked over to the table where one of the obviously drunken young adults was now dancing on the table ironically like a stripper...or maybe they really did enjoy it. He wasn’t here to judge. “Gentlemen.” Prince stated loud enough to get their attention. “You are being too loud and disrupting the general atmosphere of the place, either calm down or leave.” They paused for a second, before laughing and going back to what they were doing. By this point a few people had stopped to look at the scene, which earned a smile from Prince. He loved being the center of attention, even if this was the bottom of the barrel kind.

“Alright you loud mouthed little cock suckles.” Prince yelled, slamming the table and leaning in on the group of people. “I asked you politely, now I’m asking you using your language. Get the fuck out.” The group looked a little taken aback, before their gazes fell upon Prince and they slowly started to stand up to Prince. There were five in total, all relatively well built and a couple with augmentations that, while not military, would still sting. Prince stood there, his cocky smile that had become a staple of the rather young detective planted on his face like he was watching saturday morning cartoons. The supposed ring leader of the group was the first to say something, through slurred words naturally.

“Fuck off.” Elegant, short, to the point. Prince gave a nod, a smug smile on his face as he contemplated the reaction. Prince then gave a short laugh to the entire thing as he realized something, something he would have thought of to begin with if he wasn’t ten beers and twelve shots into the night.

“You know that part where someone tells someone else; ‘You walked into the wrong neighborhood’?” The kids looked around slightly before Prince pointed behind them. As they turned, they were met with several weapons of varying lethality pointed in their general direction. Cops and scumbags, all one in the same here who simply wanted to protect their bar, stood side by side in the only moment they ever would. The kids froze, unsure as to what to do before Prince put an arm around the Ring Leader. “Now, I can tell that you’re not wearing a diaper, because that stain on the ass end of your jeans indicates a very precise feeling of fear, so how about you go home, change, have a shower maybe, and sleep off this horrible night of excess?” The kid still looked ready to fight, but his friends were not in the same boat.

“C’mon man...not worth it...just not worth it.” They stated as they pulled the Ring Leader with them. With a slow walk towards the door, it took several moments for them to finally exit the building in what Prince could only call the ‘Most Anticlimactic exit ever produced by drunken idiots’. Prince gave a nod, running a hand through his and releasing a breath. With that job done, he turned back towards everyone else, who had holstered their weapons.

“My thanks people of varying moral integrity. Next round’s on me.” There were a few cheers as Prince took up his spot at the counter once more. Luxley wandered over, placing one more beer in front of Prince.

“Thanks...but isn’t that technically public intoxication?”

“Wrong question.”

“Do you care?”

“Bingo...and nope. That’s beat cop shit.”




Prince’s Apartment

Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep...BEEP

“FUCK OFF!” Prince yelled, grabbing his radio and tossing it across the room, yanking it from it’s plug in. His head was buried in his pillow, his sheets a mess and his pants still clinging to his form by the ankles. He had made it home at least, and almost managed to get undressed before passing out. He woke up slowly, his eyes still closed as he placed a hand on his hair. Dear God, it was as if someone had taken a leaf blower to it. He couldn’t have that, and the state of his being right now? If anyone saw him, he would keel over right then and there. With the appearance of his own body firmly lodged as an image in his mind, he opened his eyes slowly.

“Oh fuckin christ on a pizza roll.” Prince exclaimed, his palms coming up to his eyes to push them in and feel the cold relief as spots started to punctuate the blackness of his eyelids like fireworks. “Ok...Ok...Ok...It’s ok.” Prince opened his eyes again, wincing at the pain…

The pain of seeing himself in the full body mirror adjacent to his bed.

“Look at you.” Prince stated, disgusted at his current body image. “You’ve hit rock bottom...for the third time this week.” There was a heavy sigh as he picked himself up from the bed, groaning in protest as his body attempted to rebel against his spirit. He took one step before remembering his pants were still linked to his feet, stumbling over them and landing face first on the floor. Prince placed both hands over his mouth as he screamed slightly at the pain now coursing through what felt like every fiber of his being. He laid there for awhile, allowing the metal floor (Which was painted to look like hardwood) to cool his throbbing pain. When that was done, he threw the pants off and once again climbed to his feet with all the grace of a disabled hippo. “Awwwwwwwwwwww...Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” He groaned, finally able to climb to his feet and exit his bedroom.

As he wandered into the small hallway, he took a quick left into the bathroom, which as he entered he was assailed with a variety of scents. As he took a quick look, he realized why, staring at the toilet in horror. “Yep...that would be about 15 shots of Rye. Oooh, maybe 16.” He gave the contraption a quick flush as he attempted to have himself a shower. 20 minutes later and more than half of that spent making sure his hair was perfect, he walked out of the bathroom with nothing but a towel covering his lower half and strode confidently into the living room of his small apartment.

A white couch faced a rectangular device attached to the wall. A holographic display, a television really. A couple of recliners, also white, were on either side of the couch and facing the tv. Underneath was a small table that held a N87 gaming system and a small library, along with paddles. It was funny, even with virtual reality becoming the go to, paddle gameplay was still widely loved by most people around the world. Not to mention it was more accessible and cheaper than owning a VR suite in one’s home. Off to the right was the kitchen, divided from the living room by a half wall. In it were the necessities: Fridge, sink, microwave, dishwasher, etc. With a marble finish and wood paint job covering the metal cupboards, it was actually the nicest looking area of the apartment. Of course, that was the extent of his living place as just off the kitchen was the door to his little slice of heaven.

Naturally, draped over the kitchen counter, table, couch, recliners and in a corner for some reason were all of Prince’s clothes. Jacket, shirt, shoes, socks, even his shades had ended up in the sink for some reason. “Drunk me is such an idiot.” Prince said to himself as he wandered over to the fridge. He opened it to reveal...not a whole lot. He was living the true life of a bachelor at the moment. He really wanted eggs though, mainly to cure the unnatural splitting headache trying to cave in his skull. He closed the door, pressing the pad that was displayed on the front. He touched through the menu, ordering eggs, butter, some lettuce, orange juice and two pork chops for later. Finishing his order, he heard a ‘thunk’ as the groceries were delivered to his fridge via a cylinder system built into all the apartments. He opened the fridge to find all the items requested placed inside with surprising care. He grabbed the carton of eggs, pulling out five eggs before placing the carton back inside. Reaching into one of the top cupboards, he pulled out a glass and placed it in front of him, closing the door as he did so.

With a sloppy execution, he dumped the five eggs into the glass, and with more than a grimace, downed all five in a mighty gulp. Once that was done, and he had finished heaving, he wiped his face with his arm and washed his hands in the sink. He hated it, but to be honest, it was the best hangover cure he had come across. Yeah, there were so many drugs out there that claimed to do just that thing, but he had tried nearly all of them and so far none of them beat the eggs. He gave a series of noises akin to a gorilla trying to imitate a guitar sound in order to get the taste out of his mouth as he made his way to his room.

From there, he opened his closet, which automatically started spinning around as it made its way towards his outfit for the day. Today he was going for a ‘Casual Business’ look. A white dress shirt, black slacks, white red belt, red tie, and black running shoes. He nodded, obviously satisfied with himself as he set about donning his suit for the day. Soon enough, he was fully dressed, immaculately one might add. His dress shirt didn’t have a single wrinkle in it, his pants were smooth to the touch, and the tie was knotted up to perfection. Matched with the fact that he had spent a great deal of time on his hair, you would never assume that this man had gotten black out wasted the night before. With that being done, he closed his closet and wandered over to a panel built into the wall. Beside it was a palm scanner, which Prince put his hand up to. “There’s no such thing as too much perfection.” He spoke, a passphrase for his safe as the panel opened up to reveal everything he needed for his position. A underarm holster, his badge, gun, credentials and general police gear. He saddled up, and once everything was nice and snug, he closed the safe and stepped back in front of the full body mirror. Admiring himself for a couple minutes longer than one really should, he finally deemed himself worthy of being seen and made his way to the door. There he agonized over the jacket he was to wear. He looked so good this morning, it would be such a waste to cover it with a jacket.

If it rained though, he would have a meltdown just like the old crone in Wizard of Oz. He groaned to himself, but ultimately he decided on his Fuego leather jacket, waxed to a beautiful sheen along with silver rimmed shades. Stopping for a moment longer to look at the mirror that he had hung in front of the door to make sure everything fit properly, he opened the door and exited his apartment.




Prince pulled his 2077 Herini sports car into his parking spot at the MCU HQ. A 2 door slim and fast looking thing that looked more suited to being some irresponsible playboy’s thing rather than an MCU detective. Of course, once you saw Prince exit the car, you could tell the same type of personality was in play. Prince walked towards the elevator, clicking the lock button on his keys to hear the familiar ‘ding ding’ the car responded with to acknowledge that it was secure. He pressed the button to get the lift moving, and once it opened, stepped inside while taking a sip from his coffee cup. From there, it was a short ride up to the main floor of the Nest, otherwise known as MCU HQ.

The elevator dinged and the doors opened to reveal a flurry of activity already happening. Several desks could be seen from his position as monitors filled with varying amounts of information casts glares of light upon the officers who sat near them. Normal civilians sat with detectives, giving statements and in varying degrees of emotional stability. A couple of robots walked around performing menial chores such as cleaning the precinct or handing papers to other officers. The entire place always felt alive, from the earliest crack of dawn to the blackest pits of night. Prince exited the elevator, taking in a deep breath and exhaling with an exaggerated flare.

“So Princess decided to show up this morning. Heard you might be dead or something.” An officer wandered up to Prince, his grey hair indicating his seniority as well as his senility if you asked Prince. He wore a standard issue SCPD uniform, which was the norm for a lifelong sergeant. His face was littered with wrinkles, scars and cybernetics. In fact, nearly a whole half of his face was metal, with a skin overlay covering the more glaring issues. The man had been with the SCPD nearly since its inception, yet refused to take any kind of officer position, preferring to stay in the field. If only his name actually lived up to the history the man had to offer.

“Mancy, you crazy coot, I can’t die.” Prince stated as he walked on by, Mancy falling in step with him. “I survive through pure willpower and the amount of blackmail I have on Death himself.”

“Somehow I doubt that.”

“Would you believe a cup of about 5 eggs and an inexhaustible supply of pizazz?”

“I would believe the egg part, for some reason you smell like a rooster’s ass...you know, more than usual.”

“Well that stung only the tiniest bit.” Prince stated, smiling as he did so and taking another sip from his coffee. To be honest, Mancy and Prince made a very odd pair. Mancy was old enough to be Prince’s dad, and their personalities could be seen as clashing. Mancy was very serious most of the time, and Prince could barely get through a conversation without throwing some kind of quip around. Yet it seemed that they relaxed to a happy medium around each other. They weren’t partners, but they had a mutual respect that allowed this kind of banter to go on unabated. “Anything Prince worthy this morning?”

“Chief was looking for you.”

“Never a good thing to walk in on.” Prince said, stopping at his desk and noticing the dirty state of it. While he prided himself on looking good at all times, the areas around him often suffered due to the lack of attention spent elsewhere. He placed his coffee among the other half empty cups on the corner of his workspace. “Any idea as to what?”

“Honestly no, but I wouldn’t put it past him to give you a firm hard slap on the wrist.”

“Almost a ‘phrasing’ moment there old man.” Prince said, giving a cocky smirk as he leaned over his desk and logged into his desktop. Immediately he started clicking on his email, noticing one from the Chief asking him to his office as soon as he came in. Others were case details and such that he could go over later.

“Keep your mind above the gutter there Princess and your dress past your knees.”

“I hate the dress code.”

“At least the dress can have frills.”

“Ooooh, and you can be my man servant. I demand a tail coat that reaches down to your ankles.” Mancy gave a quick laugh at that before patting Prince on the back.

“The wife is out of town, so Last Stand tonight?”

“After last night…” Prince paused, his face going serious for a moment as if he was deep in thought. “Only a rampaging emp could stop me.” Mancy smiled, giving a small wave as he went back to his desk to resume his duties. Prince gave a smile, locking his desktop and pulling a sucker from a stash he kept in his desk for the kids that were sometimes dragged into the office. Ripping the wrapper off and popping it into his mouth, he glanced over at the Chief’s office. The windows overlooking the main area were polarized, preventing any vision inside. That put up alarm bells in Prince’s mind as he took his jacket off and placed it on his chair. He tugged at his shirt to make sure it was suitably tight before walking the distance to the Chief’s office.

A few other Detectives gave nods or ‘Good Mornings’ as he passed, which he replied with a smile and greeting in kind. When he got to the door to the office, he took a breath and knocked on the door. “Who is it?” The Chief’s voice answered. At the very least, he sounded very much calm about whatever Prince was being called in for.

“Detective McCastor sir.” Prince replied, the Chief being one of the few people he spoke to with...almost seriousness. At the very least, he was a lot more controlled around the man who had the ability to fire him or bust him back down to beat cop.

“Come on in.” The man replied, to which Prince entered the office. Inside was a rather spacious area, meant to be able to house important people/victims/witnesses. There was a few luxurious sofa chairs, a small table and enough room to pace if one wanted to. Off to the side sat an inert television used for video conferencing. Center piece was the Chief’s desk, modest by request yet still impressive when compared to the rest on the floor. Pure Mahogony, it was starting to show its years as scrapes, spills and burns showed on some of the surface. On it, he had a picture of his family, a lovely older woman with a child who appeared be in his early teens. He was thankfully unaugmented and shared much of his father’s rough edges it seemed. The woman had warm brown eyes and hair that hung loosely around her shoulders. It was a posed photo, although Prince knew for a fact that one of the Chief’s drawers held more candid pics.

The man stood behind his desk, his hands filtering through a couple of files in his hands. The first thing people noticed about him was his rather intrusive looking cybernetics. While they looked painful, the man never seemed to be in any kind of pain. They weren’t exactly pleasant to look at though, but Skipper McDougal didn’t care about such things. His eyes drifted from the paperwork to Prince as he walked further into the office, then glanced over at a figure that was standing opposite of his desk.

Whoever this was, he was tall and covered head to toe in fabric. Could be a cybernetic freelancer for some case? Didn’t seem to be MCU, but they had their fair share of deep dive operators who looked anything but professional in order to fit in with a certain crowd. “Sir.” Prince stated, walking up beside the figure and standing towards his Chief. “You needed to see me?”

“Yes, thank you for being prompt.” McDougal stated, putting the papers down on his desk. “I’m going to be blunt about this and get the shock out of your system right away Prince...Meet your new partner.” Prince blinked once...twice...three times before finally his mouth pursed enough to form a single sound.

“Huh?”

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Character Portrait: Prince McCastor Character Portrait: Atlas
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And we live in a beautiful world,
Yeah we do, yeah we do.
We live in a beautiful world.


It was a good day, after all.

Skipper was giving him another chance to prove himself in MCU, though he hadn’t quite put it in that way. No, this was not his fault. This was only a small rest. Some time away. Agents, he’d said, took leave all the time when things didn’t pan out as expected. He noted the pull to his lips. The crease of his brow. The way he patted him on the back whenever he left him at his apartment. Even so, he was happy. Over the moon. He liked that saying. How could an emotion reach there and back again? It had to be powerful. Seeing how he felt the morning he’d been told that he could go back to the office, and start working in the precinct, it appeared sound. Joy had startling strength.

His vacation was officially over. His suspension rescinded. Not that he hadn’t enjoyed his time in Skipper’s home. The gratitude he felt was explored through actions and many, many conversations. He cooked, he cleaned and filled out any paperwork he was too tired to fill out himself. Sometimes, the old man fell asleep at the table, and would awake to find all of the work properly finished; neatly stacked beside a cup of coffee. It was all he could do to show his appreciation. A smaller part of him wished that he could have a place of his own: a home. Just like everyone else. Or, less restrictions on going outside.

Out there, where things were dangerous. Wild. Beautiful.

However, his request had been too much. Even if it made his heart sink… he understood. He wasn’t well enough to mingle with the public. Self-reflection was an important step to bettering himself and for that to take place, he needed time alone. To process what had happened with his old partner. To think of what had gone wrong and what he could do to prevent it in the future. He had done a lot of that: thinking. His recovery made it a mandatory measure. With nothing but pale blue walls, white furniture, and a 50” inch television, there wasn’t much else to occupy his thoughts.

This, however, was much different. With each agent, he’d remained at their household until he was required to accompany them on the streets. He hadn’t interacted much with MCU’s headquarters in the past beyond the first introductions—Skipper was making lenience's this time, though he wasn’t sure why. What was different this time, compared to the others? He had asked him before, of course, but he never got any straight answers: not with him. A shake of the head. A grin, a scratch of the beard and little else. He had said once that they had done him wrong and this time, they’d do it properly. An agent couldn’t be treated like a tool, put back in the box whenever he was not needed. He would be an agent of MCU in all the ways he ever dreamed of.

It was enough for him. More than enough.

The excitement he felt was palpable. Atlas imagined it tickling down his extremities, down through his toes and fingers; and if he thought about it hard enough he swore he could feel it. Time ran sluggishly slow. Each time he brought up the clock in his peripherals, flashing in the corner of his vision… it seemed as if only minutes had passed. He wanted to meet his partner now, not later. The morning before, Skipper had brought him out to meet the rest MCU’s crew; real conversations, rather than curt introductions. This would be his family. He thought that he ought to treat them as such and get to know them to the best of his abilities. Agents functioned as a well-oiled entity; not as separate individuals. Several cogs, not a singular device.

Vaxen Kilby was a puzzling man. Tugging at Atlas’ arms, turning his face over, and tapping at his face-plate. He seemed vested by his inner workings and asked him to change his expression. Come up with weird images. He laughed a lot, though he was constantly reiterating that he was just kidding. And to not repeat what he said. Parris, on the other hand, was much quieter. A little sad, he thought. He supposed that she may have been shy, though she had spared him enough of her time to show him where she worked. She showed him her tools and workstation and pictures of corpses, before shooing him away.

Ryker was one individual he was actually somewhat familiar with. He’d been to Skipper’s house more than once and had always brought him things from town during his vacation. Whether it was magazines or Mona D’s newest romantic film—he brought them all in package form, meticulously set in a brown box with MCU’s logo emblazoned on the side. He’d always noticed that he didn’t smile much, but he had always thought of him as a kindred spirit. A man with a heart of gold. He’d heard that said before, and liked the phrasing… but sometimes wondered where it had come from. Did the pigment of one’s heart change depending on the amount of kindness a person had? The world was peculiar. Human beings especially.

He looked at the time for the hundredth time today, tapping his metallic fingers across the marbled counter.

Two more hours.




The tall figure shifted in place. There was a sense of general discomfort; teetering the weight from foot to foot. Only then did the fabric slip away from its face, revealing a black panel with turquoise lights built into the jawline and much larger ones that represented his eyes. Pupiless. More like car lights than anything else, with mechanical lids. He shouldered the rest of the fabric off and let it pool at his feet. Of course, he’d wanted to show off his MCU uniform. Custom-fit for him. It was the same sort of uniform new agents would wear when they were being sworn into the force. He’d never worn one before, and insisted that this would be the perfect time to wear it.

Atlas cleared his throat and toed the fabric to the side, finally taking the time to look at his new partner. There was a jumble of unease in the pit of his stomach. Or else, where he thought it would come from. Unease. He had felt it before, when he’d been brought in for his mistake. Unpleasant as it was, this felt a little different. He’d read about if before. Butterflies. He was nervous about this encounter. The expression on the man’s face wasn’t exactly what he had expected. There was no smile, no uplift of brow. Nothing at all to tell him that this person was as equally excited as he was.

Huh?

That was all. For a moment, silence stretched between them and Atlas was unsure of how he could break it. How he should break it. He glanced towards Skipper, then back to the man in front of him. Prince, as Skipper had said. Like in the fairy-tales. If that was the case, then he would be honorable, kind and brave. Someone who had all the makings of a good partner. He held out one of his hands, in the respective gesture of goodwill. A handshake. He hoped he couldn't tell how nervous he was. There was a metallic rumble to his voice when he spoke; which did not sound too unpleasant to his own ears… but might have been off-putting to someone he’d never met before. Hopefully not in this case.

“Good to meet you, partner. I’m Atlas.”

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Character Portrait: Prince McCastor Character Portrait: Atlas
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This...was odd.

Not only was Prince not one for partners, but he wasn't particularly fond of the robotic kind either. Most 'bots', to put it nicely, were dumber than a sack of bricks that grew up in the poor end of the city. They followed directions, sure, but you had to be extremely precise or, at the very least, spend hours getting them programmed to understand a particular set of lingo. Even if you did that, someone else could come along and need the bot and then they need to do the same thing. Last thing he wanted was essentially a giant hunk of wasted metal clinging to his ankles as he went about his daily life. Prince stared at Atlas, as the bot seemed to proclaim, holding out a hand for Prince to shake. Someone had spent some time with the configuration at least, but even then this thing would be wasted on someone like him. Prince looked down at the hand, but felt no compulsion to grasp it and shake. After all, it was a machine, incapable of being offended or having its feelings hurt. Instead he turned back towards the Captain, a puzzled look on his face. "Did I do something wrong?" Prince asked, his question earnest as he desperately clawed his way into his memories trying to find a particular event that would have pissed the Captain off enough to warrant an overpriced babysitter. "Because unless I royally screwed the pooch, and I'm not that hard into bestiality, I can't think of a single thing that would warrant this kind of an ankle weight."

"You think this is a punishment, Detective?" Skipper asked, his mouth twitching into a smirk as his eyebrow raised slightly. Prince looked towards Skipper, then back at the bot, then back at Skipper.

"It isn't? You're assigning me a Blue Bot as a partner...that's essentially a punch to the dick and a knee to the chin."

"Language, Detective." Skipper stated, earning a slight groan from Prince. "Our new addition is pretty impressionable."

"Impressionable, what is it a new model that learns fr-" Prince stopped dead in his tracks as he looked over at the bot one more time. "...No."

"Yep."

"When?"

"Some time ago, that detail is hardly important."

"Why?"

"A test."

"Me?"

"Yes you."

"WHY?!"

"Starting to ask myself that very same question, Detective." Skipper stated, crossing his arms in front of him as he nodded towards Atlas. "And as he said, his name is Atlas. I would suggest using it." Prince looked at the still outstretched hand then back up at Atlas's...face? He didn't know whether to run for cover, approach him like he was just another dude, or act as if he was meeting some foreign diplomat. To say that Prince was uncomfortable would be an understatement. While he would never say he was afraid of AI, he was overly cautious and considered them to be a dangerous avenue of research. Humans were, in most ways, predictable and easy to track. AI's could think faster, react faster and had one major thing lacking when it came to understanding their motives;

Humanity.

Prince eventually grasped Atlas's hand, giving it a firm hard shake as he stared at Atlas. "Detective Prince McCastor." Prince stated, stealing a glance at Skipper to ask him to tell him what was going on without actually speaking.

Ah—the response Atlas had been looking for all along. Acceptance. Why else would he willingly shake his hand? Much of the back-and-forth conversation left him puzzled. A punch to the dick and kick to the chin? Why would anyone do something like that? This meeting was nothing like that at all. The comparison was inaccurate. He would have to bring that up again in casual conversation. Besides, Prince seemed like the type who wouldn’t mind any of his questions. He’d asked his own several times already: why? Though he assuredly had done nothing wrong. The initial question he'd posed rung in his head. Whirred incorrigible. Their partnership was something to be happy about, wasn't it?

It was. To him, at least.

The well of excitement only seemed to grow, threatening to spill over. Blooming into something larger than himself. Standing here, in his uniform, in front of his partner. What adventures would they go on? What criminals would they bring to justice? What would he learn from him? There were infinite possibilities; and he wanted to experience them all. He fought the initial urge to tap his foot on the ground, or draw him into a hug. Those things were reserved for good friends and family... and they weren't there yet. Hopefully that would change. Soon.

Prince was his new partner. This man. This time, he’d do things the properly. With his help, of course. A whirring noise sounded as he gripped his hand and gave it a good shake. A little too excitedly. A strong handshake sent off all the right messages; a man could tell another man’s mettle by the strength of their handshake. Or so he’d read. He only released his hand when he realized that he hadn’t stopped bobbing it up and down, rattling the man’s arm like a rope swung between them.

“Sorry, Detective McCastor,” he retracted his hand back to his side and rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand, turning his attention towards the ceiling, “It’s been awhile, is all.” There was a twang to his distinctive, automated voice. Something familiar. Another agent’s influence. Old habits died hard.

Atlas scuffed the heel of his mechanical foot on the ground and lifted his shoulders, almost in a sheepish fashion. “Is there something we should be doing, Skipper?”

I was just getting to that, Atlas. Skipper stated as his hand drifted to his computer, tapping a couple buttons and presenting a screen that only he could see. Prince, this is going to be a step down for you, but I was hoping to have Atlas slowly integrated into the MCU... as such, I'm putting both of you on beat duty for the next couple of days." Prince visibly cringed as he slowly replaced his hand back down at his side.

"Sir... I haven't walked the street in years... isn't there something else we could do? Vandalism? Jaywalking? Hell, I'd even take a high society case!"

"Well if you're lucky, you'll probably get to see the first two." Skipper continued pressing buttons on his keyboard. "And before you say you're too busy, I know you have no open cases at the moment Detective, so do please spare me that excuse."

"How about 'My sister is sick and I need to take some time off' excuse?"

"Extremely low brow and not going to work."

"Had to try." Prince stated, earning a sideways glance from the Captain. He continued tapping away on his computer until he seemed satisfied. A moment later, Prince's phone vibrated in his pocket. He grabbed it, flipping through the messages and seeing the new assignment from Skipper. He groaned as his beat cop duty was made official, not to mention a very clear indication of a 'partner'.

"There, your assignment and route have been given. Now, since I happen to know you, Prince, I want to make something very clear." Skipper walked around his desk, standing in front and leaning against it so that the both of them could fully see all of his augmentations. He placed his palms on the wooden surface of his work area, glancing more towards Prince than Atlas. "Atlas is here to learn, to understand and ultimately become a asset to the MCU. As such, I expect you to be on your best behavior. Teach him the ropes like you would any rookie and be sure to expand his knowledge where ever you can."

"I don't remember seeing anything in my job description as to having to play the babysitter, sir." Prince stated with more than a hint of sarcasm to his voice.

"We're the law, Detective, we are babysitters... we're just better equipped." Skipper looked over to Atlas. "Atlas, I've forwarded you Prince's file for you to peruse, but if you have any questions for him now, I would love to see how he answers them." Prince squirmed slightly, rolling on the balls of his feet as he looked over at the tall piece of metal beside him.

Atlas was mumbling something about there being absolutely no babies in the vicinity. Whether or not he was just being smarmy was anyone’s guess, though he seemed to be nodding along with their conversation, luminous eyes sparkling up at each interjection. He was filling away information, saving it for a latter date. No doubt, he could quote it verbatim. He tapped at the small plating running along his wrist line, sparking up a holographic adaptation of the details Skipper had just sent them moments before. Particularly Prince’s file; his dossier winked up, displaying a younger profile smirking up at him.

If Prince’s lack of enthusiasm was anything to go by, the android seemed jubilous in comparison. A stark contrast. Beat duty! How he’d missed the simplicity of the streets, watching out for nee-doers, and bad guys. He didn’t mind one bit. This would be a prime opportunity to prove that he was well enough to become fully integrated into MCU’s midst's. A true, blue agent of the force. He swiveled his attention back to Prince, noting his sour expression with a tip of his head. He tapped at his wrist again, and the image of Prince’s face flickered away. He seemed to consider the question, scratching at the bottom of his chin with a metal finger.

He had too many, after all. Scrambling to be heard. He did not, however, want to bombard him here, all at once. Making Friends 101, a book he had already read several times, dog-eared as it was, informed him that it was best to grow close to someone gradually. One on one. Usually over coffee.

“Ah, no, Skipper sir,” Atlas paused and turned his body towards the door, dropping his hand back to his side. A metallic hm sounded, as he glanced back at Prince, “How do you take your coffee, Detective McCastor?”

It was important.

Prince watched Atlas turn to leave only to turn back towards him. How did he take his coffee? Out of all the questions, that was one that was common among human partners but, well, to be honest Prince had no idea what to expect from this. He was well outside his comfort zone, and considering his reputation and solve rate, he wasn't even sure why he was chosen for this particular job. "3 sugar, 2 cream." Prince answered hesitantly, looking back at Skipper who only made a motion towards the door for him to get going. Prince closed his eyes for a moment, taking a breath before walking to the door which Atlas opened up for them. As they walked out, several detectives stopped to peer at Prince and the person who followed him, confused by the rather tall stature of the person in question. Prince continued walking to his desk, looking over to see Mancy giving a coy look towards him. Prince put two fingers to his eyes then pointed at Mancy, who only gave a smile in response and went back to his own work. Prince shook his head, grabbing his jacket on his way back to his desk. "We'll take my car."

Prince led them to the elevator, hopping in and pressing the button for the parkade. During the ride down, Prince looked over at Atlas. "First rule, don't tell anyone you're an AI, the response will probably be less than favorable. If anyone asks, you're a sophisticated SCPD Android, top of the line with advanced VI parameters to mimic human behavior. Second rule, you follow my lead. I don't know what's going through that head of yours, but listen to what I say or you'll most likely end up regretting it in a number of different ways." The elevator dinged and the doors opened to reveal the parkade. Prince could see his car from where they stood. "Third rule, I reserve the right to make up rules on the spot to changing circumstances." Prince took a step out of the elevator, turning to face the AI.

"Any questions?"

Atlas only nodded his head at each interjection, tipping his head to the side as a dog might’ve. If he noticed any unusual looks, he certainly gave no indication of it. Mechanical eyes blinked at him, turquoise spinning. While he didn’t understand why lying about being an AI was a good idea, seeing how agents were supposed to be just, honest, and fair, he made a mental note of it. As well as his preference for coffee. Three sugar, two cream. A sweet concoction, if Skipper was anything to go by. He usually drank it black. Perhaps, this was an inflection on Prince's personality. Sweet as sugar. “A sophisticated SCPD Android, top of the line with advanced VI parameters to mimic human behavior,” he repeated, in Prince’s voice, down to the sarcastic edge, before turning back to his echoing drawl, "Are you and Detective Mancy intimate?"

The android mirrored the fingers to eyes motion, and raised an imploring eyebrow. A plate, raising up above his browline. Or, wherever it was supposed to be. It was strange, hearing a question worded so genuinely. There was no trace of a tease. No mocking tone. Simply an observation he'd made on the way to the elevator. He looked at him expectantly, almost too eagerly, awaiting his response.

"Intim-what?!" Prince started, pausing to look over at the machine. "No...god no...what di" It was then that Prince noticed the gesture the machine was making before letting a breath release from his nose. "We're friends...buddies, coworkers, you know that kind of thing. We're not...the other thing." Prince stumbled through his explanation, mentally facepalming at the entire question. If this is the way this thing asks questions, I have to stop jumping to assumptions.

"If that's the question you ask, obviously you don't have any serious ones in you." Prince stated as he reached his car and unlocked the doors. He motioned for Atlas to get in.

"Alright then, let's go get this over with."

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Character Portrait: Prince McCastor Character Portrait: Atlas
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Let’s get this over with, involved unfilled silence all the way to Detective Prince’s squad-car. Not on his own accord, as he tried to explain that his question had been serious. A curious observation.It wasn’t that he didn’t have any other questions to ask, but he’d been told many times before that it was rude to ask too many. All in due time, personal relationships were like plants to be watered and nurtured—besides, Skipper said he talked too much. It was something he was trying to improve.

Atlas initially moved over to the driver side and reached towards the door, intending to open it, before his partner shooed him away. Lips pulled into something that looked rather unhappy, teeth bared: what the hell are ya’ doing, you tin-can. Being a gentleman, he’d said. It earned him a look he couldn’t quite decipher. Eyebrow’s drawn. Curious, or confused.

How strange. He had seen it plenty of times on all of his dramatic soap-opera’s; opening and closing the door for someone you considered important. A testament to good manners. Wasn’t this one of those situations? Atlas’ eyes whirred, clicking shut. No, maybe not. Recalculations would have to be made. Maybe, he’d re-watch those episodes and see where he had gone wrong. Study the experts.

Atlas circled around the car, opened his own door and slipped into his seat. Folded himself, more like. It was cramped enough that he had to lean forward, perching his elbows on his knees. A soft clink of metal chuffing against metal; a gentle reminder that squad-cars weren’t quite outfitted for someone his size. Perhaps, they could acquire a larger one to accommodate him. There was another pause, a considerate one, as he thought back on what Detective Prince had said. “Like we are, then?” he turned to stare at him, face-plate flickering to life, “Friends, buddies, coworkers.”

"Coworkers at best." Prince replied as he got into his car. He let out a breath he had been holding, knowing that he was probably being a bit more moody and bitchy than he really needed to be, but no matter how he looked at this, he saw it as a punishment. After all, even if it was an AI it was apparently not versed in standard social conversation or interaction and would need to learn. It was one thing to teach a newbie the ways of the street, it was another to instruct his partner on how to just talk to people. Prince started up the car, and with a roar that was probably overcompensating for something, Prince waited only long enough to make sure his new robot 'coworker' was strapped in before pulling out like a bat out of hell and tearing out of the parking lot. If he was going to do this, he might as well get his kicks where he could. As Prince pulled them into the mainstream traffic, the other cars blazing past, a mix of high and low tech vehicles that used a smattering of autopilot and manual control, his thoughts raced as quickly as everyone passing him did. How was he going to do this? Sure, androids and the like were popular enough, but true AI was a mixed bag at best and a fear spreader at worst. He would have to pass off Atlas as some kind of 'new synthetic' to the populace should they start asking questions. Maybe that's why the Chief actually picked him? The Chief always did say that he had a big mouth on him.

"Do you... eat?" Prince asked, his eyes never straying from the road.

“Coworkers,” Atlas echoed softly and nodded his head. That was a start, at least. Even if Detective Prince didn’t consider him any of those other things, it was progress towards a fruitful relationship. A partnership. Friends, someday. He could almost feel a smile pulling on his face, if he had lips to perform such a feat. He was happy—that much he could tell. Pleased at the shiny, bright opportunity that he’d been given. Being out in the field meant that he was needed and that the Chief had forgiven his mistakes, seeing to it that he could make up for them; better himself just like anyone else could.

It meant he was like anybody else. Human.

Almost.

Atlas scratched at his chin, as if he had an imaginary itch. He didn’t, but there were so many thoughts whirring in his head. Too many. He knew what beat-duty entailed. He’d done it before with other people; under differing circumstances. What would they see? Who would they meet? What was Detective Prince’s style? Some were rowdier and hot-headed, while others were kinder, softer. What was his partner like?

When Detective Prince posed the question, he dropped his fingers from his chin and held it up, curling his finger inward. “No, actually.” He almost wished he did. Having been equipped with some sensory abilities, such as his sense of smell, it seemed an awful shame that he hadn’t been given working internal organs. Some androids had. Especially those who’d been created as companions. “But I do like food. The smell of it, I mean. Sometimes, I watch those cooking shows.” His eyelids clicked as he slid his gaze away towards the road, “Ah, y’know, Cooking With Stars.”

"Right... figured I would ask." Well there goes that idea of shutting him up with a hotdog or two Prince thought to himself as he continued down the stretch of road, every once in awhile being passed by a few people who were going well above the speed limit. Part of him pondered turning on his siren, but another part of him simply didn't care enough. He had long ago transcended such menial cop labor ever since he had gotten his Detective title. "Also I think you mean Cooking with the Stars. The way you say it implies something different. There he went again, being a snarky assbag for no other reason than he was annoyed. Childish behavior he supposed, but he couldn't shake the feeling of professional departure being thrust upon him. Luckily, the drive wasn't far to where they were doing their 'duty' for the day. It seemed the chief wanted them close by, most likely in case something were to happen to their now prized possession... or employee? Prince, uncharacteristically, didn't have much to say after that. After all, how does one talk to a machine without seeming to talk to themselves in the process? He had his own ego-maniacal problems, there was no need to compound them. Instead he drove, speaking only to curse some people out who tried to cut him off. Eventually he came to his turn, leaving the heavy stream of differing vehicles for a slower street with much more foot traffic. It was a middle class neighborhood, which meant bland buildings with bland people doing bland things and generally being law abiding citizens.

What a boring load of shit.

Prince took a couple turns through the winding streets, passing by more and more bland areas filled with people just going about their business and doing nothing particularly interesting. Already Prince could feel his will to live slowly leaving him as he looked for a place to park. Eventually he found one, sliding into the area easily enough and turning the car off with a little bit of flourish as he was stepping out of the vehicle before the motor has even stopped sputtering. A couple of people looked at Prince as he walked around the vehicle, stopping in front of the parking meter and pressing his badge up against it with a bit of a 'slap'. The monitor beeped, recognizing him as law enforcement and waiving the standard parking fare. When Atlus got out of the vehicle though, he drew more than a few stares as people stopped what they were doing to take a gander. Sure, Blue Bots were common, but they were pretty much universal in appearance. Atlas was... well, while he wasn't exactly going out of his way to draw attention, even the way he looked around at the people and buildings was doing more than any Blue Bot would. Prince walked over to him, replacing his badge within his coat. "Remember what I told you before." Prince stated in a whisper, already wary of the people around him overhearing. With that out of the way, Prince started walking down the street, one hand in his pocket and the other waving for Atlas to follow.

Ah, it was called Cooking with the Stars. It made more sense, though Atlas couldn’t articulate why it did. In any case, Detective Prince was kind enough to correct him on his mistake, no matter how small. He appreciated the sentiment and flickered his face-plate into a pixelated smile; orange flashing and disappearing into it’s usual opaque shine. A mirror reflecting the world around him. Absorbing. Acknowledging. Perhaps, a bit uncomfortably to those around him. Not that he’d be keen to notice.

He welcomed the silence—he’d never minded it that much. Though he’d noted that some people seemed to squirm in it, wholly uncomfortable. While he much preferred filling it with questions, he was happy to let it idle. Let it drag between them so that he could better focus on his surroundings, drinking in his environment as a proper authority of the law should. Always keeping on his toes. What he did learn from the quiet drive… was that Detective Prince’s patience seemed paper-thin, particularly when driving was involved. Road rage? Is that what it was called? An unusual phenomenon where the driver was rendered furious at the antics at others; their inadequacies on the road. He never truly understood it. Why curse at other drivers when they couldn’t even answer back?

Atlas’ excitement was palpable as they drew near. He leaned forward in his seat as far as he could and tapped his mechanical hands against the inside of his knee; impatient. A rarified rookie, raring to go. He waited until the vehicle’s motor came to a sputtering halt before he, too, slipped out and shut the door behind him. If he noticed anyone looking at him strangely, he didn’t say anything. Instead, he fell in beside Detective Prince and cleared his throat, “If anyone asks, I’m a sophisticated SCPD Android, top of the line with advanced VI parameters to mimic human behavior.” Repeated earlier, in Prince’s own voice. Like a recording being played back at a lower volume.

There was a pause, and another smile flickered over his screen. He stuck out his thumb in the traditional way to say that he understood. "Don't worry, I won't slow you down, partner."

"Uh huh." Prince stated, not bothering to really hide his true feelings at this point. As they walked, Prince could tell that Atlas was taking in the area, looking at people and analyzing mostly everything. Prince himself kept his eyes straight ahead, only bothering to peer his eyes away when someone would give them an odd look. A glance from the Detective would inform them as politely as he could to keep their eyes to themselves, as they would immediately look away or otherwise start doing some other task that would distract them from the two cops walking down the street. In the meantime, Prince was looking for a specific building, and after walking a few blocks, he found it. A small coffee shop with a street facing vendor. A couple people milled around it, holding hot cups of coffee in their hands and talking to each other as if they didn't have a care in the world. "Hold up." Prince stated, lining up among the other people there to get his coffee. When he got to the vendor, he ordered for himself and didn't bother doing the same for Atlas, as his prior conversation indicated he wouldn't be able to enjoy it anyways.

As he described earlier, Prince placed 3 sugar and 2 cream into it, creating an almost intolerable sweetness to most other people who would see him do this. Instead, he took a sip as soon as he was done stirring, and upon deeming it satisfactory, continued walking on while expecting Atlas to keep up. "I'm not sure how much of the policing bible, AKA the Detective Handbook you've read, but let me infer a little bit of my own knowledge and expertise on the situation." Prince started talking, if for nothing else but to make sure Atlas couldn't fill the void with an incessent amount of questions. There was also the part of passing the time, and Prince much preferred to hear his own voice. He wasn't an egomaniac, at least he didn't think he was. "The book will tell you how to do things proper, but problem being is that it's printed on black and white paper. Here in the real world, you have to trust your gut and believe in simply doing the right thing. Sometimes the book will tell you to do one thing, but ultimately it's up to us to figure out how to properly interpret the law. If you follow the rules right down to the letter, not only will you not get anything done, you'll make more enemies than friends." Prince continued as they strolled further down the block, Prince sipping at his coffee and Atlas most likely listening intently, although for Prince this was secondary at best.

"We're supposed to be the good guys, but a lot of the time we get used by people for political gain, which means making judgement calls on what truly falls under not only our jurisdiction, but our own moral compass. I'm not saying we break the law whenever we feel the need, but we can certainly bend it if it means truly performing the right amount of justice." It was at this point, that Prince noticed a man very sneakily grab a woman's purse from the ground when she bent down to tie her shoe, walking off as if there was nothing the matter. "Take Tommy Pickpockets over there... what are you gonna do about him?" Prince asked as he took another sip, which was when the woman noticed her purse gone and started looking around frantically asking about her belongings in a slightly below panicked voice.

Atlas noticed everything around them—took it in with the interest of a child. Wide-eyed with wonder. All of the people they passed and those who seemed particularly interested in the duo they presented. Of course, they were probably proud of them; authority figures, making sure that they were all safe and sound. A presence of security and comfort. They could all rest easy now that they were here to protect them. He didn’t seem to notice the way a wary mother pushed her child slightly behind her as they passed. He only offered nods in passing and glanced Prince’s way, falling into step with him. Once they reached the coffee shop, he seemed to light up. Or else, his faceplate did.

Although he was unfortunate enough not to have tastebuds or a functional mouth and organs; Atlas could smell things with startling clarity. It’s use was primarily for search-functions, sniffing out drugs, gun-powder and the like. Explosives, if neccessary. But, but. It had other uses, such as this. A small, indulgent gift. Coffee smelt warm. Like a soft breeze in the morning. Like reading a new book. It was the easiest way to describe it. Comfortable, warm. He always felt a small pang of jealousy when he’d seen Skipper cup his hands around his favorite mug each morning. That he couldn’t do the same was... disappointing.

Three sugars and two creams. He made a mental note, shuffled it into a folder he deemed important enough to recall. It was a wonder he wasn’t overflowing with all the things he considered important by now. There was too much of it, he knew. Maybe, someday, he’d learn to let go of those things. But for now, it was enough to keep it all close to heart. Who knew when he’d need to remember it later on. His memory was organic. It grew, expanded. Like a brain, they’d said. Of course, like anyone else, there were things he’d rather forget. He grinned. Faceplate lighting up as he joined Prince’s side once more, craning his head down to listen. How delightful. He was giving him advice. He’d be sure to pay attention.

“I don’t want to make any enemies,” his voice was low. Almost a mechanical whisper. Thoughtful. Atlas considered his words, whirred them through his head. His processes, his programing. What he was saying was indeniably conflicting with what he’d read—go by the book, they’d said. Be a good cop. Follow your heart. Do the right thing. Follow the rules. These were all... in conflict with each other, and something he’d struggled with before. “Do you think—”

He hadn’t had time to finish his sentence, because his eyes had already locked onto the man who’d snatched up the woman’s purse from the ground. From the moment the woman’s voice had risen and the man had turned to walk back into the throng of walkers, Atlas had already broken into a jog. The bandana around his neck flapped behind him as he shortened the distance between them. Dogged in his determination. “Hey—thief, halt! Stop right there!” His voice was loud enough to cut through the crowd; crackling like a megaphone.

Once he was close enough, he reached out to grab the man's sleeve.

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Character Portrait: Prince McCastor Character Portrait: Atlas
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Prince watched calmly as Atlas took off at a decent clip to take on the pickpocket. A sip of his coffee and a very disinterested gaze were all the indication Prince gave that he was even paying attention to this little adventure. As he continued to watch Atlas, rather than the pickpocket, he started picking up on the subtle clues to his movements. Everyone usually had something that gave them away if people were paying attention, and learning how people move was a good way to pick them out of a crowd when getting a facial recognition simply wasn't on the table. A slight limp, a longer step with the left than the right, maybe their body slanted in a certain direction. With Atlas, it was different. Bots always had a certain way about them, they were blocky and confident. Their strides always had some kind of mechanical presence to it, but with Atlas, it was almost the opposite. With the body using more synthetic components than mechanical ones, it was the idealized version of a human body, just better. When he moved, it had the same confidence of a robotic personality using algorithms to move rather than intuition or gut, but it was too smooth. No limp, no gait, no discerning factors aside from the fact that it was too perfect a movement.

Prince had made that same observation about the pickpocket the moment he had made his move, his eyes tracing over every inch of the man's covered body. His movements were mostly organic, but he favored his right side with a noticeable tell tale sign of augmentation. It wouldn't be a leg, as that would most likely provide an upwards slant as opposed to a downwards one, and it couldn't be a military augment because that would draw too much attention, but it was heavy enough to change the man's walking stance. Prince wondered if Atlas had taken the time to observe his target before reaching out to him. Personally, Prince looked forward to seeing how Atlas handled what was going to inevitably be a slightly violent but not over the top pickup.

Mechanical movements, all too perfect. Strides long and already gaining. Still. It didn’t seem to give away Atlas’ intentions, as far as catching the thief went. Though, if Prince’s analysis was correct, it seemed as if he’d noticed the thief’s unusual gait. He’d maneuvered himself just so, positioning himself to the man’s right side, rather than his left. Even inorganic, mechanical models police used were outfitted with retina-scanners capable of picking up irregularities. Prosthetic limbs, outfitted with codes; even if they were wiped, there was a good chance he’d sensed it underneath his pants. Or else, noticed the slight difference in his gait. Maybe, he’d just been lucky.

As soon as Atlas’ fingers grappled onto the man’s sleeve, the man’s momentum carried him around. A harsh ripping sounded, before mechanical fingers found themselves around a fleshy bicep. It jerked the man roughly backwards. No chance carrying the android forward, seeing how vast the weight difference was between them. Didn’t stop the thief from reeling to the side, all snarls. The purse dropped to the ground and spilled its contents across the pavement. A stick of lipstick rolled off the curb. Car keys. A picture. “Lemme go, you fuckin—” a sharp yelp, as a fist collided into Atlas’ face plate.

It snapped Atlas’ head backwards, but did little in the means of damage. Poor guy probably broke his hand.

Seemed like he was expecting someone different. A person, maybe. Another sharp intake of breath, a wheedling whine. Faces turned in their direction. People whispered, tucked themselves closer to the building. Atlas’ fingers looked as if they were digging in tighter, locking in place, though he didn’t seem to notice the man’s obvious distress, as he tried to squirm away, “You were instructed to halt, sir. You did not comply. We will be taking you down to the precinct to answer for what you’ve done.” Instructions, spoken in a matter-of-fact tone. He looked over his shoulder at Prince, and drew his free hand up, thumb flagged.

Prince continued to drink his coffee in a calm manner as if there was nothing happening in front of him at all. His eyes coasted to the people around them, noticing how many of them were huddled together, avoiding the area or deliberately turning around to avoid the confrontation altogether. As he walked closer to the idiot and the machine, he mentally restrained himself from sighing as he bent down and retrieved the purse from the thief. Taking a quick glance around the ground to make sure nothing fell out, he looked at the wannabe swiftfingers and gave a nod. "I'm going to assume you didn't grab anything out of this purse, right?" The criminal shook his head vigorously, straining somewhat under Atlas's hold, but otherwise remaining still. Prince turned slowly, sauntering over to the woman who had slowly been approaching the officers as they retrieved her purse. As they closed the distance between each other, Prince handed the purse over. "Make sure nothing important is missing." Prince asked before she could say anything, which was answered with her rifling through her purse and grabbing a few important items.

"It looks like everything is here. Thank you officer." Prince gave a shrug before turning back towards the two individuals still locked in a grapple on the ground. Stepping to the front of them, he knelt down and noticed that the man's hand was already purple and starting to swell. A quick look at the thief showed that his clothes, while at first glance acceptable, showed signs of wear and tear. His face, while relatively clean was unshaven and his eyes were sunken. Creases lined his cheeks and while he looked ready to bolt at any moment, it seemed to be more out of desperation than a genuine need to escape. Prince rifled through the man's pockets, much to the man's discomfort as he squirmed and moved to avoid it, but Atlas held him down. Soon enough, he found the man's wallet, and upon opening it, his ID card. Flicking the rest of the wallet onto the ground, he stood up with the card in one hand and his coffee in the other. Taking another sip, a green display appeared in front of his face

"Mr. Alan Torrinson. 8165 Albert Street, Apartment 24. Sucks to be you, don't it?" Prince turned the card over, making sure his implant recorded every detail of it before tossing it on the ground. "I'm positive Alan here understands the error of his ways, don't you Alan?" Prince asked as his implant connected him with the criminal database back at HQ, bringing up no prior criminal record on Torrinson. Once all that information had been conveyed, the information display in front of Prince's face disappeared and he looked down at the thief. "Find another way to make ends meet. I know who you are and where you live, don't make the same mistake twice." Prince stated before turned to Atlas. "Release him."

Atlas made a happy humming sound as Prince approached. Clearly, he was pleased with himself. Thought he’d done a bang-up job. Probably. It was hard to tell, what with the lack of mouth, eyes, and stereotypical features humans had. His face-plate lit up, flashed briefly and dimmed back to its opaque, reflective surface. It reflected the man’s face; twisted into a pained sneer, lips peeled back from teeth that could’ve been tended to a little better. Obviously it wasn’t something that was at the top of his priorities, though nicking purses from poor ladies in the streets definitely was. Leather fingers dug into the tendons of the man’s wrist, as if he were holding the leash of a particularly rascally dog and not the fleshy wrist of a human being.

He watched as Prince retrieved the purse and plopped it into the manicured hands of the woman. She, at least, appeared grateful that the ordeal was concluded. Relieved, but wary. Rifling through the purse as she was with a sour look on her face, eyes flitting up to stare at her thief, crumpled on the ground at his feet. After thanking Prince, Atlas seemed to beam up. He straightened his shoulders, and flashed another thumbs up; face-plate winking a pixelated smile, before he turned back to stare at Prince, occasionally whirring his head to regard the criminal attempting to weasel his fingers between his mechanical hands and his captive wrist. The sound of clacking heels announced the woman’s departure. All was well.

If Atlas at all noticed the damage he was doing to the man… he certainly wasn’t giving any indication of it. Might’ve even held the man’s wrist until it died and fell off. He stood stock-still, not giving the man any berth, as Prince shoved his hand through his pockets. He seemed to lean forward and peer down at the card held in his hand. Staring at the blinking light that showed Mr. Alan Torrinson’s face, an ID that told them everything they wanted to know. He planted a hand on his hip and rolled one of his shoulders; as if in acknowledgment to his rhetorical question. Or, in an attempt to look like a tough guy. As soon as Prince ordered his release, his leather fingers immediately relinquished their grip and sent the man sprawling on the ground, cradling his hand to his chest.

“Ah, yes,” he drew a hand to his face-plate, and cleared his dual-toned voice, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you.” An awkward pause, before he added, “That’s how it goes, doesn’t it?”

Prince peered over at Atlas, glaring slightly as if to say 'play your part bot' before looking at the man slightly writhing on the ground. "Hey, get going. I don't want to see your face again..." The man paused for a moment then climbed to his feet and did what seemed like a powerwalk through the slightly encircling crowd in his attempt to move away from the police officers. Prince took a sip of his coffee, giving the retreating figure of the wannabe criminal an uninterested gaze while keeping the crowd in his periphery. A good chunk of people had stopped to stare at the police roughing someone up, but the moment the event was over most seemed to wander on their way. A sigh of relief escaped Prince's mouth as he started walking down the block. "C'mon."

With what seemed to be the most exciting part of this beat detail over with, Prince continued to drink his coffee in hopes that the caffeine would be enough to get him through the rest of the day. "So...If you were a standard bot, this is where I would be tweaking some of your operating procedures." Prince said as he slightly swirled his cup. "Because for a simple pickpocket, you did way more damage than necessary. His hand, at the very least, is probably fractured. You were holding his wrists with a deathgrip as if he had any chance of actually fighting you, and you weren't paying attention to the people around you." Prince took another sip from his coffee as they continued to walk. "What I mean by that is that the SCPD, and in particular, the 'bots' they use to supplement their workforce, are to be held to a standard far above any other city or government official because of our position on the world stage. While I don't think anything damaging will come out of that slight altercation, people seeing a bot tackle, pin and potentially harm someone who only grabbed a purse and tried to run is sending a message of an overaggressive workforce. Do you understand?"

If Atlas at all understood the glare, he certainly gave no indication. A slight tip of the head and that was all. Unsurprisingly, subtleties and nuances seemed lost on him. Maybe he hadn’t been programmed with those types of things? Sarcasm, nor bitter humor, either. Almost seemed as if he took everything Prince said literally. He watched as the bedraggled man scrambled backwards, regaining his feet long enough to carry him far, far away—without so much as glancing behind him. He only paid the dispersing crowd a glance, carbon-fingers twining behind his back. At ease, but curiosity seemed to waft from him in apparent, unsubtle waves; he seemed to like the attention well enough. Though, he snapped to attention as soon as Prince indicated that they were done here, following at his side.

“Tweaking some of my procedures,” his voice whirred a clip lower, confusion apparent. It was stated like a question he didn’t quite understand. Or else, like a teen that was being reprimanded without reason. His face plate reflected Prince’s face, as he craned towards him, though his hands seemed to clench momentarily into fists, flitting and loosening as they walked. He seemed to stew in silence, shoulders slightly bunched up. He, at least, seemed to be listening and didn’t interrupt as he talked. Only when he finished did Atlas shove his hands into the pockets of his trench coat, much like an unruly child who’d been chastised. Though, without any of the contemptuous sass. “I… I do understand.”

He pulled his hands free from the trench coat that covered the majority of his body, and rubbed at one of his wrists. Fingers treading along where his veins would’ve beat if he had them. “Wasn’t he a bad person? Weren’t we protecting the citizens from people like him?” Another pause, hesitant this time. “Do you think he’ll be OK? His wrist.”

"There are plenty of free clinics further down that should be able to help him out. A lot more charitable citizens in this city than one would believe, along with more criminals than the media would ever allow to slip into the world at large." Prince answered first, taking a drink as he finished and continuing to walk down the street. "And the answer is both yes and no. Yes, he broke the law in a few different fashions. He stole something and he tried to evade the law, either of which would normally put someone in the holding cell at least, with a most likely sentence of 5 years." Prince continued, nodding to a couple people as they addressed the pair as officers. "But... not everyone is a bad person. Sometimes people do bad things because they have no choice. Did you notice his clothes? His eyes? The wrinkles and signs of stress etched onto him? Did you notice he ran with more desperation than purpose? When he struggled, was it panic or malevolent intent?" Prince stated, his eyes staring into the distance ahead of them.

He had seen it more than he would like to admit, the downtrodden and unlucky who come here believing the stories put forward by the media. They believed it was a fresh start with a guaranteed success rate. They didn't find out until it was too late, that Sonder City was just like any other place, just with a bit more makeup and attention to detail. So many would be criminals just found themselves at the wrong end of the spectrum, doing anything they could to survive. He couldn't let them all go with a warning, but there were those who were obviously doing it out of a sense of loss rather than greed or desire to inflict pain. "I'll be the first to admit... I don't know much about AI, so I don't know if you can recognize the inner workings of a person's emotions or intentions... but I guess that's why I'm here." Prince gave a sigh, taking yet another drink from his coffee. "End of the day, the laws are guidelines. Right and wrong can't be equated to lines in a book. They can be guided, sure, and of course we need some semblance of order in order to function as a society, so the law serves a purpose... but some days you just have to go with your gut as to what is right or wrong."

It was at this moment, something dawned on Prince as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Here I am spouting philosophy to a machine. Not as if you can fully understand all of this anyways. Look, just do me a favor and try to gauge the reaction based on the crime. A simple pickpocket doesn't need his bones broken, we clear?"

Atlas seemed lost in thought as he listened. Well, as much as one could look puzzled with a faceplate that occasionally lit up, and flickered down into a more muted tone, reflecting the surrounding buildings and passing faces; those brazen enough to actually peer around at them. At first, he seemed to want to say something else, perking his head up, then lowering it back down: quiet. For once. “That… I don’t think that’s in my code.” The way he said it seemed… pained, as if he didn’t really like saying it that way. “He looked scared.”

His shoulders slumped a fraction. A slight whir was a near-constant to his actions; hydraulic pumps and inner workings never quite human. His movements, as Prince had noticed before, were near perfect. Posture, gait, run. Though, there were times, like in this moment, where he almost appeared childish. Shoulders bunched, hands coming to rest at his hips: like a kid who’d been reprimanded. Like someone who was considering his actions and not quite understanding the consequences. The why’s. “Go with your gut?” He glanced down where his stomach would be, and then back at Prince. A noise that sounded awfully close to a sigh puffed out from his voice-box.

Another quick nod of the head seemed to be his answer to Prince’s question. Not that he had much choice. He hadn’t seemed very happy with the way he'd resolved things, so maybe he wouldn’t cause undue injury in the future. Hopefully. Another long silence, drawn and reserved. Contemplative, almost. He glanced towards the building and tapped the toe of his foot on the ground. This time, his voice was quieter.“Are you going to put this in the report?”

Prince shrugged, taking a long sip from his coffee as they continued to walk down the street. "Where would it get me, putting that you roughed someone up in a report?" Prince stared ahead, almost like he didn't have the capacity to look at whoever he was talking to while speaking. "I put it in, and the best that will happen is the chief ordering me to work out your kinks, the worst he'll berate me for falsifying a report in order to rid myself of a partner. Either way, it's just not worth the effort." A part of Prince knew he was acting very much like an asshole, but an even bigger part of him simply didn't care. He didn't like having a partner, much less a tin can of one, and he didn't see the point in hiding his feelings in that regard. It was often better to simply air what you were thinking and suffer the consequences, than hide and pretend everything was fine. "Long story short, no, it won't be going in the report. Not noteworthy enough. We took down a pickpocket, no need to explain further."

Prince motioned with his free hand as he continued down the street. "C'mon, we still have a ways to go yet, and I would prefer to do it before the coffee gets cold."