Mina's mom usually gave pretty good advice. Things like "don't flee the scene of an accident" and "go to the hospital if you have a head injury" and "don't get into a car with strangers." Most of the time, Mina followed her mom's advice, because that was the sort of person she was. She followed advice! Especially if it was good advice and especially if it was her mom, because she worried. And she wanted what was best for Mina. And it usually made sense!
So, anyway, Mina had just gotten into a car with strangers with a head injury while fleeing the scene of an accident.
It hadn't been her fault! Like, legally, even, not just "mom, it wasn't my fault!" But she'd been in a crosswalk and she'd had the walk light and what was that guy even doing? Maybe he could explain it to her mom because, like, wow did Mina not want to do that. She also didn't want to explain why she wasn't in the hospital, and why she was in the car with strangers.
One of them was named Spork. It was still funny. The driver was... presumably not named Spork? Were they another utensil? Was Mina allowed to ask? Actually, Mina was not sure she was supposed to be here at all. Spork had seemed to think it was a good idea, but Mina wasn't sure about the driver. Was she allowed to ask that? Like "Hello random stranger, is it okay that I just got in your car, also, do you happen to go by Tongs?"
That probably wouldn't go over well. It also probably wouldn't go over well that Mina was seventeen. Were they kidnapping her? Like, not on purpose, but did this count as a kidnapping whether she wanted it to or not? Actually, were they kidnapping her? Wasn't that one of the reasons you weren't supposed to get in the car with strangers? Should she say something like "And by the way I had leukemia as a child so, like, I don't think anyone would really want my kidneys."
Did they want her kidneys? Also there was that whole thing that her blood gremlins ate people, but maybe if they were after her kidneys they sort of deserved it? Or, like, they would have if she'd had good kidneys, but it would kind of suck to have that happen and the kidneys weren't even in sellable condition. Except, did they actually check that on the black market? Did someone sit next to a bathtub full of ice with a clipboard and just say "can you tell me if you've had any of the following conditions..." before they got out the scalpel?
Mina didn't know. Mina had no idea about any of this. Mina put her seat belt on because gosh darn it, she was going to listen to one piece of advice from her mom today.
"Hey, Spork? If you're going to steal someone's kidneys, do you ask their medical history first?"
Spork seemed like they would know.
"Also, um, hi. Sorry. About. Everything? Especially me. I'm Mina. You're... you're probably not 'Tongs,' are you?"
Spork is lounging in the back seat of a car. This is not an unusual activity for them, and although these particular circumstances are a little out of their normal wheelhouse, they’re rolling with it.
They’re in the backseat because the car didn’t so much stop as it did slowly roll, and then they tore the door open and hopped in. And then scooted graciously over to the far seat, like a gentleman, so that the kid could hop in too. They hope the blood washes out of the seats alright - actually, knowing Mari, she probably thought of that weeks ago and did her whole spreadsheet thing to pick just the right model with blood-proof seats. The nerd.
Said nerd might still be a little uppity about the whole ‘last minute ride’ thing. They make a note to rag on her later, tacking it to a mental bulletin board beside some choice comments on being less obvious about tracking their every movement. They’ll bring up the alligator fiasco if they have to, but only as an emergency measure.
They’re zoning out again. Cars tend to do that to them. Hell, most things that don’t grab their attention just aren’t worth noticing, 90% of the time. But the kid asks a question, and they take a moment to mull it over.
“Hm, iunno kid. Depends what I’m stealing them for, I guess. Typically there isn’t a lot of time for talking with those sorts of things. Paperwork is a special kind of torture, though, I might keep that one in mind.” They tactfully choose not to elaborate on what, exactly, ‘those sorts of things’ are. Mari never got them into anything too heinous, but they’ll let the kid think whatever she wants.
Their legs are a little cramped back here. They readjust, kicking a foot up onto the center console in the front and letting their opposite knee rest against the door. They snort a laugh at the kid’s follow-up, angling their face towards the front seat as though trying to smell Mari’s reaction. “Ha! Can we keep her, Tongs?”
A deep, beleaguered sigh came from the front seat, the dark eyes staring daggers at Spork in the rearview mirror. It didn't matter if they couldn't see them, she knew they could feel the look. Mari had been elbow-deep in a new project, working on an attachment for her laser pistol that could spread the beam, sort of like a shotgun. So far all she'd succeeded in doing was destroying three prototypes, but it was a start. She was about to presumably destroy Prototype Number Four when she'd received the memo from Spork. Her phone was instantly in her hand, tapping on the icon simply labeled Silverware Drawer. In less than 5 seconds she was scrolling through Spork-related information, diagnostics on their implants, and diagnostics on them.
They weren't too far, but the memo had been urgent, they'd been out of breath. None of their implants were failing, and they had asked for a hospital, not backup. Their heart rate was elevated, but unfortunately she hadn't been able to keep track of much more than that. At least she'd been able to give Spork a tracker that they couldn't throw into an alligator enclosure. At least, as easily. Mari was still afraid of the lengths a dedicated Spork could go to.
There were too many variables, so Mari made a choice. She'd go grab them. Finding a driver who'd keep their mouth shut was too difficult on a short notice, and without knowing what they needed a doctor for, she could accidentally send them to the wrong one. So she'd dropped what she was doing, metaphorically, and scrambled over to them. Turns out that 'them' in this case did not refer to a blind demigirl with an attitude most would find abrasive. No, instead it referred to the holder of said attitude as well as a child covered in blood. Lucky for Spork, Mari had done her research into the ease of cleaning the upholstery, since a bloodstained car would raise several questions that she didn't want Spork to come up with answers to.
Not only was the child bleeding, but she apparently wasn't making any sense. Could be possible brain damage, but Mari couldn't be entirely sure.
"Correct, I'm not Tongs." Mari said, her tone exasperated despite the literal years of putting up with similar antics from Spork. "My name's Mari. You already know Spork. Why are you covered with blood? Why couldn't you just let an ambulance take her?" This last question was directed at Spork, Mari's tone carrying along with it an unspoken 'I was in the middle of something'.
Not 'Tongs.' Just 'Mari.' Mari wasn't nearly as fun of a name as Tongs. Or Spork. Spork was a great name.
Mari had great questions. Excellent questions. Pointed questions. Pointed like a - well, not like a Spork, actually, because they weren't that pointy, and that was kind of the whole point, was not being too pointy, because if they were too pointy they would just be a fork and then-
Mina was sure there had been a point there, but she'd chased it for a while and it had still gotten away. Bummer. Spork had at least explained the kidneys situation. Although, now Mina just had more questions.
"Wait, you can steal kidneys for more than one reason? I thought it was just for transplant. I mean, I guess you could cook them up in a pie or something, but like - what are the other reasons? Sorry. Sorry. I've just never stolen anyone's kidneys before. Not that I'm planning to start! I mean, I don't even know what I'd do with them, which is why I'm asking - I mean, not why I'm asking, no! Not like that, I don't want to, um. Sorry. I'm sure your kidneys are very nice?"
This seemed lacking, somehow. Mina turned her attention to Mari, hoping that would help. It did not help.
"Oh, no. You sound like my mom. That probably means you're right."
It takes a few tries to get their elbow propped at the right level on the door, but Spork manages. Their fingers drum against the door in quick taps, transitioning into the beat of Barracuda when they accidentally hit on it. “Thanks, but I’m not selling.”
Mina has a lot of questions. They try to remember if they asked that many questions when they were a teenager, but no, probably not. They were more the ‘fuck around and find out’ type. Practical experience and all that.
To their own credit, they also weren’t that curious about black-market organ dealing. They shrug a little, pointedly ignoring Mari’s glare. That is, until she starts asking questions of her own.
“The kid didn’t wanna go.” Their shoulders go tense, their head tilting a little to the side and jaw clenching in familiar tells. They aren’t budging on this. There’s a challenge beneath their placid response, simmering rebellion that conveys a willingness to do this with or without her help. “Her blood’s dangerous - thought you’d know who to call about that, Mom-ri.”
“She isn’t right. I am.” That’s a thought though, one that had slipped their mind somewhere between the screaming and the running and the alleyways. Spork tilts their ear towards Mina, leaning in slightly to ask, “What exactly does it do?”