Thursday, 3 July 2008

2123 Wire Street

Chiswick, having left Transom in deep water, drove towards Wire Street. He was in no hurry as such. Though he worried that Sophia might be in trouble, he trusted in her natural resourcefulness. Driving through the Electric City, he eased the hydrocar past the Solar Panel main grid. The high darkened walls cut down the glare, but the energy coming from the panel field always gave Chiswick a thrill somehow. He could feel his own circuits buzzing and had often wondered if it was the same as Sophia's caffeine kick as she had described it. He turned at the end of that block into Software Drive and continued past the grid while on the other side of the road, cafes and small shops went on with their daily business. Jimmy's Cafe, one of his favourites had robots outside, no doubt getting the same energy buzz he was. Jimmy's was one of the few cafes that allowed robots to sit with humans. The robots didn't drink the coffee or eat the food, but they did use the computers and if anything broke down they would know how to fix it more often than not.

At the end of the Drive, he stopped and parked the hydrocar. He got out without the fedora or the shredded trench coat. Some things even a robot like him couldn't fix. But he was ready to take on Lenny the Knife if necessary. He took a short walk to Wire Street counting down the numbers. Getting to Wire Street was easy, finding an address on it took a while. Still, he was not impatient and after a while he came to a large faceless fronted building in the dark grey breeze block that was used throughout the city. It was set back from the street and might have once had a garden. Now it had four hydrocars parked in front of it. On a weathered wooden post near the road, yellow plastic numbers were nailed on showing him that this was 2123 Wire Street.

Chiswick scanned the building. A steel door several inches thick at the centre in an equally strong frame. Twelve humans and four robots inside. The robots he could linkup with and did. Four heads turned to him and he gained the information that they were Gulliver & Richey 38s and stolen for service in the building. They were to be re-wired to belong and state that they belonged to Lenny Marcasite - businessman. Chiswick told them that he would not allow that to happen for which they were grateful and asked him for help. He asked them to move to the back of the building and they did so.

Scanning downwards for a basement, Chiswick discovered another human with a specific tag marker - a silicon chip that he knew to belong to Sophia. It could only be detected by him being carefully arranged that way by Sophia herself. She appeared to be making something and he noted with interest that it had already an energy signature. Clearly, he told himself, it was a weapon of some kind and knowing Sophia it would be bio-tagged with her DNA to only work in her hands. If he could have, Chiswick would have grinned at that. Getting Sophia was one thing, keeping her prisoner was quite another - especially in a lab.

He activated his shielding and his reinforced 'bones' as he moved to one of the older and heavier hydrocars. The Daimler Rocket was an imposing machine; not efficient as such, but grand, solid and heavy. Chiswick scanned it and estimated as he approached it. It was heavy, but he could manage it. Crouching slightly, he reached beneath the vehicle and lifted it. Taking a firm hold of it's chassis, he braced his feet and tossed the hydrocar at the building. The machine hit the steel door with the impact of a missile and there was an impressive crash as the door and its frame were pushed into the building.

Shouts sounded from inside as the dust swirled in the air and men poured out of the building like angry wasps. They had high powered tasers in their hands and fired them at Chiswick who brushed them aside and flung the next hydrocar at them. The men scattered and the hydrocar followed it's predecessor pushing the Daimler Rocket further into the building. Suddenly there were blasts from inside the building and yells. Chiswick connected himself to his own Aston Martin Venture and called it to him. In Software Drive, the hydrocar started up and drove itself to him. On the way, it called for the police.

Arriving outside 2123 Wire Street, it parked on the opposite side of the road, its engine running with a low growl. The Delete gang rushed towards it, but Chiswick turned his upper body and let a rain of darts loose at them. They fell quickly, tranquillised and he turned back to the building. He pushed the hydrocars out of his way as he entered the building, their bodywork screeching horribly as he did so.

In the corridor, Lenny the Knife suddenly took Sophia by surprise as she exited the basement, pointing the tip of his knife at her throat as he grabbed her hair. She froze and winked at Chiswick who held up his hand and activated his magnetism. The knife quivered and Lenny snarled forcing the knife point into Sophia's skin making her shut her eyes and gasp. Slowly she reversed her own weapon in her hand and still Chiswick's magnets pulled at the knife. With a sudden yell, Lenny dropped the knife and let go of her hair with a look of surprise. Sophia put up her free hand and removed her hair from his fingers. Lenny suddenly relaxed his body and collapsed on the floor unconscious.

"Creep," Sophia snapped at him.

Turning to Chiswick she said dryly, "My hero. You've got dust all over you and where are your clothes?"

Chiswick modulated his vocal equipment and laughed.

"I'll tell you all about it in the morning dollface," he said laconically.

"I'll dollface you in a minute you tin box. The law should be here in a minute if you called them. Let's go home. Mama wants tea," she answered, adding, "A shame we couldn't have those
Gulliver & Richey 38s, but hey ho. I've made better."

They went out through the dust and rubble, Sophia putting her arm around Chiswick's. He led her to the Aston Martin Venture and asked if she wanted to drive.

"No, I'm tired, you drive," she said.

As they drove away from the scene, the police sirens could be heard. Just another day in Electric City.


Rosemary in Utah said...

So, in this future, "The City of Light" has come to mean 'lectric *lights* after all--delete the elite, too bad.
This 2-parter full of fun, Griffin.
A fedora and 'the fuzz', Sophie's coffee buzz, dollface, square jaw,
violence schmiolence!
I looked to see if "Corsetier" indeed exists as a surname, like "Baker", or "Carpenter", but no. HOW-ever, if you'd care to believe it, corset PIERCINGS exist--aaaagh!-- having the skin on your back pierced as if YOU were a corset--decorated with beads, like twin curved rows of little earrings down your back--unusual, certainly impractical!
Will there ever be a time when you can look someone in the eye and Not know he's not human?? (Ah! remember "Westworld"? --Yul Brenner as robot cowboy, bad guy in black!) Will there ever be a time when you can get somewhere in a car but not have to drive it?
Madame, I'd love to remove my boring black iron house numbers and replace them with huge fat yellow numbers, 2 big nails in each, just to scandalize certain neighbors o' mine hee hee.

madameshawshank said...

caffeine kick ...yep the Soph I know also enjoys! to the robot question..methinks the next stage of us will be robotic..we'll have all sorts of attachments etc..have imagined you wish to play the piano a la Mozart? no, a quick injection and off you go..Italian language..ditto..

the numbers? they are on telegraph poles in our area..if you're tempted rosemary..I could investigate:-)..ah, neighbours and scandal..nothing like it..

Griffin said...


Here the language I used got complicated but then it suited the City's not-here-ness so I left it. The police in Britain are known as the fuzz... er, among other things! Less so now tho'. Dollface is straight out of a Chandler type of novel and the fedora from the movies of the late 1930s and 40s. All film noir.

Corsetier really ought to be a profession and therefore a surname... such a shame it isn't. As for piercings... I am allergic to people sticking anything into my skin.

Here the humans and robots live together, but the robots have some free-will, up to a point, of their own. I suppose I ought to have used Asimov's laws but couldn't remember them.

madameshawshank said...

Asimov's laws? Grif..we ain't that particular :-) simply gift us with the wonderwords ~ hell's bells to the finicky details I say..let it roll the story let it roll