Shippers: Rise of the Sues
Chapter Three: 28 Sues Later
"Joe made an interesting point once, something I hadn't thought of before." Conor entered into the next topic of conversation, leaning forward as he studied the passing road sign.
"Who's Joe?" Kimchi glanced over from the passenger seat, her feet up on the dashboard.
Isaia sketched quietly in the back, glancing up as he spoke.
"Buddy of mine. Anyway; y'know Pokemon?"
"The game or the show?" she lowered the window, her arm hanging idly out the side.
"Both, either, whatever."
"What about it?" Isaia asked curiously.
"Okay, follow me on this; you know how there're no animals? Just Pokemon? No birds, cows, turtles?"
"They have Squirtles," Kimchi offered to compensate.
"No, that's not...You know what I mean, right? No animals?" He moved his hand, signaling left before turning.
"Stop doing that," Kimchi muttered, refusing to let the matter pass.
"I know what you mean," Isaia offered. She was curious as to where he was going, and knew that an argument between the two would only bring them further from the topic.
"Okay, good. Now, y'know how there are burgers in the Poke-Verse?"
"Poke-Verse?" the artist snorted softly from the passenger seat.
"Shut up. Burgers, chicken, milk?" He glanced towards the rear view mirror, looking towards the backseat passenger.
"Yes," she nodded.
"If they don't have animals, but they still have milk and meat..." he trailed off, giving them the opportunity to piece the rest together themselves.
"...Oh my God," Kimchi's eyes went wide beneath the sunglasses.
Isaia smiled, laughing amusedly at the realization.
"...Then they're killing the Pokemon and eating them. And milking them," he added.
"Where are they getting the milk?" the crossbow wielder asked wondrously.
"Whichever Pokemon has nipples?" he shrugged.
"Gross," she sneered with slight disgust at the image.
"Isaia, which Pokemon has nipples?" Conor looked back towards the rear view mirror.
"...Why would I know?"
"I don't know; worth a shot."
"Well, mammals give milk. So whichever one's a mammal," Kimchi suggested.
"I don't think there are mammals. I think they're just Pokemon," the artist noted quietly.
"We'll have to find a strategy guide the next time we're near a game store," he nodded slightly, determined to investigate the matter later on.
"Are we getting on the highway?" she wielder peered out the window, looking towards a sign as it passed.
"Nah, we're gonna gas up here first." He nodded his head towards a shopping center, his hand moving to signal right.
"I think you have a signaling problem," she muttered.
"No. Just because you drive like you're on fire, don't..."
"Why would I drive if I was on fire? That's stupid."
"That's not the point," he sighed.
"You're not the point," she countered.
"Ah," Isaia's eyes lit up as she glanced out the window. "They have an art supply store!" Her drawing supplies had grown weary since they embarked on their journey, in desperate need of replacement.
"Good, they have a Laundromat," he pulled into the gas station, looking out toward the row of stores at the other end of the parking lot.
"Why do you need a Laundromat?" Kimchi unbuckled her seatbelt, opening the passenger door. She stretched her legs out, grateful for the opportunity to walk about.
"We've been wearing the same clothes since we left; I think it'd be nice t'clean 'em every now and then." He lifted the handle of the gas pump, unscrewing the fuel cap on the mini-van.
Isaia stepped out of the vehicle, stretching her arms out to either side.
"You know you could just grab some new ones, right?" her eyebrow rose slightly as she questioned his logic.
"That'd be stealing," he explained lowly, inserting the handle into the tank.
"...So instead of getting new clothes so that you're not just limited to one pair, you'd rather wash the one pair you've got every couple days?"
"Yeah, that's about right."
"...Suit yourself. C'mon Isaia!" Kimchi smiled excitedly, taking her fellow artist by the hand.
Her eyes went wide, surprised by her friend's sudden enthusiasm. She followed quickly, curious as to what had gotten her so worked up.
"Where're you two going?"
"Getting supplies," she explained quickly as they hurried off.
"Hmm," he watched after them as they left, glancing towards the gas pump. He reset the handle, twisting the cap back on before he made his way into the station interior.
It had been abandoned during the second wave of the shipper uprising, bits of food from travelers and wanderers scattered across the floor.
"Hello?" he made his way to the back freezer, searching through the drinks before he found what he was after; an Arizona diet green tea.
"Anyone here?" he looked to either side of the store as he approached the counter, fishing out his wallet. He placed two twenties on it, peering behind it to see if the clerk was preoccupied. Blinking, he closed his eyes as he marveled at his own stupidity.
"Right; shipper uprising." He grasped the iced tea, leaving the forty dollars on the counter. Taking gas without paying for it seemed wrong to him, somehow. Even if society had crumbled.
He looked out over the parking lot, suddenly becoming acutely aware of the distance between the Laundromat and the mini-van. Opening the door, he grabbed his katana before making his way towards the store.
"Do we really need this much candy?" Isaia's eyebrow rose as she peered down into the cart.
"Yes. Yes we do," she answered simply as she threw a number of juice boxes on top of the other groceries.
"What should we get for Conor?" she asked quietly as she stood as tall as she could, attempting to find the aisle that would be most likely to house rice cakes.
"Potatoes," she quipped dryly.
"Yeah, but what's something that you think he'd really like?" she studied the aisle they had just entered.
Conor opened the top of the washing machine, dropping the clothes he had been wearing for so long. Pouring a bit of detergent in he set the first cycle, picking up an old newspaper that had been discarded as he waited for it to finish. He leaned against another unit, wearing only his boxers and pendant.
"Ah, so much stuff!" Isaia beamed as she entered the art supplies store, ecstatic at what lay before them.
"Grab as much as you want, it's probably better if we stock up now instead of stopping later," Kimchi left their cart outside, understanding that the area was devoid of anyone who would be willing to steal it.
"We can't, it wouldn't be right," she lifted a hand to her mouth as she fought the temptation to grab as much stuff as possible.
"What do you mean?"
"It'd be stealing."
"I figure society's a bit more concerned with the shippers than they are with their art supplies," she countered.
"True...But it still feels a little weird."
"If it really bothers you, we can still pay for it. We'll just leave the money on the counter for when the staff comes back," she offered with a shrug.
"Sounds good," Isaia smiled. She made her way through the store, studying the aisles as she placed what she felt would be most useful into a hand basket.
Conor glanced up towards the washing machine, the sudden quiet pulling his attention away from the comics section.
He tossed the laundry into a nearby dryer, paying careful attention to the settings for fear of shrinking the only pair of clothing he owned. Grasping his wallet he tried to fish out another single to get change.
His eyes went wide with horror as he viewed the terrifying sight.
He was out of singles.
He was out of fives.
He hurried to the change machine, cursing inaudibly as he observed that it would not take anything higher than the two.
Looking about frantically, he caught sight of a bank halfway across the parking lot. He glanced down towards his boxers, realizing he would have to risk exposure.
Leaning out the door he glanced to the left.
He glanced to the right.
He began sprinting towards the bank, stopping the moment he reached the blacktop. He hurried back towards the Laundromat.
He rushed towards the bank at full speed once again, this time carrying the katana in his left hand for safety purposes.
"This. And this. And this," Kimchi recited quietly as she tossed more items into the cart.
"...We're going to pay for these too, right?" the artist asked suspiciously.
"Hey," the crossbow wielder turned, holding up the Gameboy Advance SP.
"We need this. This is crucial," she nodded as she tossed it into the cart.
Isaia sighed, her attention piqued by something near the front counter. She leaned down, tugging at it. She smiled softly as she read the title.
"Pokemon Strategy Guide."
Conor sprinted back as fast as he could, having managed to find a lone dollar bill lying idly on the bank floor behind the counter.
He nearly dove into the Laundromat, not wanting either of the girls to see him in his humble attire. He grinned as he neared the change machine, inserting the bill carefully.
It spit back out.
He slid it back in hopefully.
It spit back out.
He pressed the bill hard against the wall.
It spit back out.
"Let me see!" Kimchi grinned, waiting on the other side of the door.
The door to the changing room opened, Isaia blushing nervously in her new clothing.
She wore a dark pair of jeans, a very soft green T-shirt covering her torso. Atop it was a brown zip-up hoodie, a new bag for her art supplies wrapped over her shoulder.
Kimchi smiled, wearing a lighter pair of jeans with a row of small studs down each side. A thin sleeveless black hoodie covered her white three-quarter T-shirt, her sunglasses the same as before.
The two had taken the opportunity to indulge themselves in a game of dress-up.
"Gimme quarters!" he screamed as he grasped the machine by both sides.
It responded promptly and understandingly by spitting his dollar bill back out.
No longer able to maintain his patience, he tore at the machine until it had loosened from the ground. He lifted it over his head, tossing it towards the open Laundromat door. He confidently watched his opponent fall against the ground, his eyes going wide as he became aware of the scene behind it.
A group of shippers approached from the opposite end of the parking lot, stumbling towards him with disturbing grins.
"Son of a..." he stepped back inside, walking towards the parking lot to meet them with his katana.
Kimchi and Isaia had stepped back out to investigate the loud crashing noise they had heard, instead finding an awaiting squadron of shippers and a pantsless Conor.
The artist blushed, the crossbow warrior merely raising an eyebrow.
He glanced down towards his one-up boxers, looking back towards the shipper horde.
"...So if you die, what, they disappear and you come back?"
"Where are your clothes?"
"Machine ate my dollar," he explained as he tore forward, preparing to take out his frustration on the mob.
"Right," she nodded as she readied her crossbow.
Isaia grasped the pistol from her holster, lifting it towards the mob.
"Ell oh ell," one smiled as a bullet tore through his shoulder.
"Aren't Zuko...And Sokka...So cute...Together...?" another grinned as the katana lashed against her throat.
"They're Zukkas!" Conor screamed as he sliced into another.
"Very gross," Kimchi muttered as another crossbow bolt sailed through the air.
Isaia fired quickly, attempting to improve her aim upon each shot.
"You're a...Homophobe..." one accused slowly, reaching his palms towards the swordsman.
"No," he growled as he stabbed the blade into the shipper's skull. "I just hate when people are out of character for the sake of a pairing."
"Inconsiderate..." another whined slowly, stumbling towards Isaia as she reloaded.
"Gah, even when they're all zombified they make stupid, overly-defensive accusations," the crossbow wielder sneered as one of her shots blew the shipper off of her feet.
Conor turned to face the last of the mob members, his grip on the hilt tightening. His eyes went wide as the shipper fell to the ground, a bullet hole torn through the side of his head.
Isaia's eyes were equally wide, amazed that she had hit exactly where she was aiming.
"Nice shot," Kimchi complimented as she made her way towards one of the fallen shippers. She pulled her arrow out, determined to conserve as many as possible.
"Where've you two been?" he looked over the mob, surprised that they had managed to get so close without notice.
"Told you; shopping. Like our new stuff?" she smiled proudly.
Conor glanced towards Isaia, staring slightly as he watched her.
She blushed softly as she slipped the gun back into its holster.
"Yeah," he blinked, snapping back to reality. "Yeah, looks good."
"Rest of the stuff is in that cart over there," Kimchi nodded.
He looked towards the cart, narrowing his eyes a bit as he studied it.
The cart was overstocked, the bottom of it lined with a seemingly random arrangement of groceries. Atop that was a few shopping bags stocked with art supplies beneath a thin layer of video games. The topmost layer had been made up of clothes. The crown jewel of the cart however, was the supermarket gumball machine that had been lifted from its former location and placed neatly atop the "supplies."
"One hundred percent necessary to our survival," she insisted, fishing out the last arrow.
"Right," he muttered as he made his way away from them.
"Conor?" Isaia asked after him, curious as to where he was going.
He remained silent as he walked across the parking lot in his boxers, sheathing the katana slowly.
They loaded up the mini-van without him, each glancing in the direction he had traveled at intervals, wondering where he had disappeared to. Kimchi took the wheel, starting the car as they waited.
"There," Isaia leaned towards the front seat, pointing towards an approaching figure.
There was complete silence as he shoved the large bag full of men's dress wear into the back of the mini-van, throwing the twelve-packs of diet green tea on top.
He sat down in the passenger seat, dressed in a pair of dress shoes and black pants. He wore a golden yellow dress shirt, the top button undone. The sleeves had been rolled up, the shirt itself not even tucked in. A black open dress vest rested atop it.
"You good?" Kimchi smirked.
"I'm good," he grinned, buckling in.
"Conor," Isaia leaned forward slightly.
The driver started the mini-van, not bothering to signal as she started forward.
"I got you something." She smiled as she offered the strategy guide to him.
He laughed as he looked over the cover, flipping through it. He noticed an entry at the bottom of the table of contents in pen.
He flipped through it quickly, finding the entry to be on the back inside cover. It read the following, in bold pen:
"Pokemon don't have nipples. You're gross. -Kimchi."
"Thanks," he glanced towards her as he closed the book.
"I do what I can," she shrugged.
Isaia smiled softly as she tested out her new art supplies.
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