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Paradigm Shift - Act 1: Paradise City

Part 4

The odd man on the corner had pointed Jiro to a music shop. A music shop. Jiro was in Heaven, looking at all the new, fancy guitars, most based on some sort of technology, but there were a few classics, a few that only reverberated through their own wood and made music through their own strings.

Unfortunately, Jiro now realized he had no money. But he would get money, so it was worth it to have information. He watched the storeís clerk sell some new drumsticks to a customer before walking up and asking his question. "Excuse me...how much does that guitar over there cost?"

The instrument in question, a gleaming plastic piece made to look like wood, had absolutely perfect acoustics and tuning. Jiro could tell by looking at it.

"That basic thing?" The clerk chuckled; he found it nowhere near as impressive. "Thirty bucks. Nah, make it twenty-five, I need to get rid of it."

Wanting desperately to have it in his hands, Jiro took one last look. He just couldnít buy anything right now. "That sounds reasonable...but...I donít have any money on me, can I come back for it some other time?"

"Sure thing, Pal," the man behind the register said. "Youíre the first person to want something so outdated, itíll be around for awhile."

And then the ground rumbled.

Jiro didnít understand the significance of this, though the other customers in the store immediately ran out, while the clerk looked and sounded a bit terrified. "Oh man, whyíd something big have to happen around here..."

He ran into the storeís back room, either to exit through the back door or find something before leaving. Jiro turned, ready to see what was going on. But he stopped when that nice guitar caught his eye again, he wanted it so bad he could taste it. And no one was left in the store; it was so small that the owners had seemed to have seen fit not to install any security cameras.

On the other hand, his conscience reminded him that stealing was wrong.

But then, the guy had said he didnít even want it anymore. And Jiro didnít think he was going to have an easy time finding a job and making a little cash, what would a little forced charity hurt?

He ran outside to witness the general public running for their lives down one direction of the street from what was crawling up the other, a new guitar strapped nicely to his back.

His skin crawled when he saw what everyone was running from in a panic. At least, he thought it felt like his skin was crawling, so it mustíve been the sensation humans used that particular expression to describe.

It was a hand. A giant, severed robotic hand, and it had been the robotic hand of Dr. Gillís gigantic ultimate weapon.

Jiro froze; all he could do was stare at it and feel the distinct emotions of wonder, terror and confusion all at the same time.

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