When every scrap of relevant data about each acquisition had been scanned, typed, or burned into the database Crutch would sometimes actually view his work. He would pull his withered penis through the flap of his unwashed boxer shorts and in a perfunctory fashion masturbate to the piece of a given work he had flagged in the database as most interesting. Only rarely did a piece of particularly interesting or unusual porn peck through the calloused surface of his libido and awaken any feelings of lust. The rest of the time it was over in moments and he had already forgotten about his most recent find.
Crutch would then pull on the nearest pair of pants without cleaning himself up and would immediately set off to find his next conquest. Usually this could be accomplished without leaving his apartment - he preferred it that way - but from time to time he had to venture out into the world.
So he had the night before, to acquire an exquisitely rare videotape from a sinister Ukrainian man-child named Popov. His actual job had called him away from cataloging the unlabeled cassette for almost 24 hours, and as he slammed through the door of his apartment discarding the wrappers of the fast food he had hammered down his throat in the car he headed straight for his bedroom. There would be no more delays. He would at last know if all of his difficult legwork, effort, and expenditure of money had yielded something worthwhile.
Without taking his coat off Crutch dropped into the metal folding chair. He powered up the switch box connected to the loops of cables spread across - and mostly concealing - a small work desk. The lights in the apartment flickered along with the window air conditioning unit in the living room, but the circuit breaker didn't trip. Crutch grimaced and yanked a wadded up pack of Camel filters from the pocket of his windbreaker. He stuffed a slightly bent cigarette between his nicotine stained lips and lit it with a Zippo that had a picture of Jenna Jameson on it. He tossed the lighter and the pack of cigarettes onto the loops of cables and puffed deeply, exhaling thin purple smoke that swirled in the complex currents created by the dozens of case and power supply fans.
Crutch pulled the cigarette from his mouth trailing a thin strand of saliva and barbecue sauce. With his other hand he gingerly unlocked a small metal fire safe and removed a freezer bag containing an unlabeled VHS tape. The faintest flicker of a smile passed over his face like the shadow of a fast cloud pulling across the roofs of fire-gutted tenements. He deftly opened the freezer bag and grabbed the edge of the tape, guiding it carefully into the waiting dark hole of his capture VCR.
The system finished booting up and he used keyboard commands to rapidly navigate his way through loading his custom-written capture software. A black box dominated each of the monitors. A quick key-press of ALT and R and the red icon flashed signaling that it had begun capturing from the video card.
Crutch leaned sideways and hit play on the VCR.
There were several seconds of leader and then footage shot from a low-end camcorder cut in, handheld and poorly controlled. The camera seemed to be vibrating beyond normal unsteadiness and as the sweeping glimpses painted a picture Crutch realized it was being filmed inside a moving vehicle. It was dark outside and inside the van. The view came under a little more control and the inept cameraman focused on a dimly lit shape that was a woman in a denim jacket. She was not bad looking, with boyishly cut dyed red hair and small feminine facial features. She was talking in a language that Crutch did not understand but he assumed was Ukrainian. It seemed like a setup for some sort of rape porn, and as the van jolted and the camera swung left Crutch caught a glimpse of a skinny birdlike man with a shaved head and a heavy Slavic brow.
The woman was not acting very scared though, she seemed more agitated, and her wild gesticulations evidenced the fact that she had not been restrained. After a few minutes of her talking loudly, a booming voice rang out from behind the camera. Crutch instantly recognized that it belonged to Popov.
"If this is more of his fucking piss porn…"
Crutch slammed his finger on the fast forward button with irritation. More talking and gesturing from the woman. The sped-up shunting of the van began to make him feel slightly nauseated. Someone handed the woman a roll of money and she seemed to relax and assume a faux coyness nauseatingly popular in bad amateur porn. The tracking lines scrolled past her vertically as she flashed her small breasts and erect pink nipples. Not bad but not even close to deserving a flag. She pulled her top back down and played the coy act some more, then spread her legs and yanked her panties to one side displaying a shaved vagina.
Mass Effect: Andromeda turns its nose up at the original trilogy's rigid morality. It boasts a more nuanced and intellectually compelling shades-of-grey approach in which a heart icon pops up when it's time to tell an alien to take their clothes off.
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