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Talking Shop

Posted on Wed Jan 25th, 2023 @ 10:48 by Jonathan Monroe & Cameron Johnston

Chapter: Prologue: Dawn of Avalon
Location: Garage
Timeline: Wednesday 23rd September
1035 words - 2.1 OF Standard Post Measure

"What took you so long? I thought you were the 'fastest man alive'?" Jonathan remarked jovially.

Leaning against the workbench inside the Institute's extensive garage, he hadn't actually been waiting long; he was actually early for a pre-arranged meet-up with the resident mechanical speedster. Getting there early was his way of teasing his friend, who he knew could have gotten there in literal seconds if needed.

"You've been talking to my ex-girlfriends," Cameron complained, taking ownership of the joke that kept making the rounds.

"Before you get all defensive, I brought you something from back home. Well - I brought me something, that I thought I'd let you play with..." He shifted over to where something reasonably large was covered with a tarpaulin. Giving it a lift and a sharp tug, he revealed what lay beneath. There stood a white-and-blue motorcycle, looking not exactly pristine, but still reasonably well cared for. "The Suzuki GSX1000S Katana, in all her bright and shiny glory." Jon grinned. "Now tell me - just how jealous are you right now?"

A low whistle of appreciation didn't exactly convey jealousy so much as genuine appreciation. "Well, someone took me up on the offer to ride on the weekend." Tucked away in her own corner, the man's own bike, a 1990 Harley Davidson XLH 1200 Sportster that he'd bought at the start of the year and refurbished, at least couldn't witness the betrayal as Cam crouched beside the sparkling new beast and ran a hand over her seat. "Top speed?"

"Right now, not a whole lot," Jonathan explained, giving it a gentle tap with his fingertips. "She's not been taken out for a ride for at least a couple of years. Was sorta hoping you'd be thrilled at the prospect of working on her?"

Casting a glance towards a tarpaulin-covered vehicle off to the side, Cameron wondered for a moment if there was some kind of intentional imperative to keep him occupied. Between Claire's Camaro, his own little side-project, and then this, it was arguable that the mechanic would have little to no need to leave the garage for the next few months. Piloting the Concorde under mission was a big step, he understood, but he had trained for it. Anyone would think they were nervous for some reason.

"You know me, never one to turn away a pretty lady." At least the automotive equivalent. Actual humanoid variants seemed few and further between. "You got a timeframe in mind?"

"I'm in no rush, if you've got loads on," Jonathan said, momentarily worried that it would be an imposition. But then again, Cameron never seemed to be flustered by anything. Especially if it involved getting his hands dirty. "I mean, I'm not exactly sure I'll be doing much riding through the winter. But if you've got your own, there's more reason to team up on a ride up to the highlands and back."

Cameron gestured vaguely to the back corner where the bike he'd lovingly christened Lulu rested under a protective sheet, the bulk of his attention still focused on the Suzuki. "Spent the break finishing her repaint, got to ride her back. She'll be up for a jaunt once we get this one sorted. You got any idea what the major issues are?" A gentle hand rested on the seat, a touch that might almost have passed as reassurance had the vehicle actually been alive to appreciate it.

"Compression filter needs a clean out, for sure. And the back suspension is completely shot." He tapped the bike again, affectionately. Despite her numerous kinks and issues, she was still special to him. "I think she's just missing a bit of TLC."

"Plenty of that to spare around here."

With a final pat to the fuel tank, Cameron took a step back, hands on his hips, and tilted his head to glance at his friend with eyebrows raised. "And now the hopefully-not-64-million-pound-question; what's your budget?" The conversation was already a lot more practical than Cam would normally have preferred given the bike herself warranted do much more than being reduced to pound signs but, just as had been the case with Claire, it was better to hash out the detail upfront. Avoided disappointment later on, which was something Cameron vehemently hated being the delivery driver for.

"Uhh..." Jon made a little show of turning out his pockets. "I did say that I'd let you play with her..."

The response earned a chuckle from Cameron, who folded his arms across his chest and tucked his hands into his armpits in a show of careful consideration. "Joint custody arrangements, huh?" Rather than draw out the awkwardness, he then relented and dipped his head to the side in reassurance. "We've probably got enough lying around here to cobble together what she needs."

"Fantastic. And if it's not imposing - I'd really like to try to learn anything I can about keeping her well maintained. As much as I've done my best over the years, I'm self-taught. And a lot of people don't tend to feel all that comfortable letting the guy who sets fire to things loose in a garage..."

"I can see where the hesitation would set in." It had to be a consideration, of course, there were more than enough combustible substances around that one stray spark could send the entire workshop up. But this was a school for mutants and Cameron had yet to refuse to work with anyone, regardless of their powers and the complications they created. "We can always pick the weather and take her outside to work though. Bring a fire blanket," he added with a grin. "I tell you what, I'll trade you Bike Maintenance 101 for some help with my homework. Claire wants us to put in for a few grants and I am absolutely rubbish when it comes to putting things down on paper."

"Sounds like a good deal to me," Jon nodded, lifting his hand in the air for a high five.

"You say that now," Cam warned, his hand striking with a resounding clap. "Just wait until you see her list of instructions."


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