Days and nights were lonely for Buddha, and here especially, in the city that was once called New York. She walked with a Gomorric slouch straight down the very center of the street, the asphalt collapsing a bit under her bare toes. The Telsas had learned to leave her be, did not show themselves, but still she felt their presence watching and creepy. They shunned her, and it didn’t help that they were a hive minded mad cult or whatever. Was it something she said? “Hello” was very amicable. No, this was just her lot in life, and with her head hung low she shoved a skittish, rusting car out of her way and trudged on.
Buddha was born in a tiny mountain village with the strength of thirty men and the quickness of a hare. This seemed to her a monumental event, her birth, and one likely unique in human history. People should really be taking it more seriously. But even in the mountains they had bots, and next to these titans her olympian powers seemed parlor trick forgettable. Her first “jump,” as it were, left her blue-bruised and broken, and she could not step up with a bot of her own because she was cruelly claustrophobic.
Oh! Woe is she, to be born merely superhuman in a world of giants! Oh! Her tragedy, a hero in a time that does not need one! Oh, that she had wandered so far, from the frost-cracked cliffs of the Tibetan plateaü, across the Bering Bridge to the fired overgrowns of the Americas, only to find that the one city worth a damn was long beyond saving. Worse! It was beyond beyond saving. Saving was no longer a term that could be applied to the situation in Formerly-Known-As New York City. The standardized tragic/comedic absolutes of rigorous morality that Buddha could feel humming through the universe in her very bones — they said nothing about the Teslas and even less about the decadent jumpers. The entire city had been stolen from God, and now that she was here she was too weak to do anything about it. The whole danged picture made her want to cry, and she did, plopping down against the side of a building with window-rattling force.
She looked a picture in her crimson robes, diamond-clear tears glistening, inching down her perfect cheeks. Buddha did not know why she had chosen this moment, out of her whole journey, to finally break down, but as the rain started to fall, hissing futilely against her invincible skin, she felt that the decision was aptly timed and appropriate.
The world’s saddest superhero leaned her head back and stared up through the sulfured drops at the greenish glowing sky. The scrape loomed huge around her with mirrored windows. Millions of people once lived and worked in those buildings, she knew; perhaps they still did, in some mindless, electropocalyptic way.
A flash, clank-clank and muted crash: two things with figures of men soared across the canyon gap from scrape to scrape. Perched now some hundreds feet right above her head, she watched them trade train-wreck blows and shake off cannon blasts. Then a deft maneuver, so deft, and the one had the other from behind, pulling the head off with a skrrrack! The head, several meters wide, crashed to her feet, and inside she heard a groan.
“So stupid, to keep the man in the head,” she muttered, picking up the squarish noggin by its metal nostrils and giving the thing a shake. A muffled squawk issued from within.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, so she spun twice like a discus thrower and launched the giant head into the bland and empty storefront across the street. Moments later a dozen pairs of hands appeared around the rubble and slowly pulled it inwards, fierce fanged face fading into the Tesla-run gloom.
The experience cheered her up considerably. Maybe I can’t save it, she thought, but maybe this town won’t be so bad.
That was all three years ago. A year later she opened her detective agency.