Posted by BigWords on November 6, 2009
Doogs pushed on the back of the hov as Charlie pulled what energy he could from the engine to keep it inches off the ground. Half an hour of pushing, cajoling and pleading with the uncooperative lump of carbon-fibre and metal had left Doogs desperate for another drink and Charlie exhausted. Talos surveyed the interior of the vehicle, making a list of the modifications, upgrades and repairs needed to make it operate again.
“It will be ready in approximately seventeen hours. In that time I suggest you both get some sleep.”
“Sleep, huh, and where’s a guy s’pposed to lay his head around heres?”
“The second floor has four rooms which will adequately perform the function of a dormitory.”
“Th’ folks that made ya oughta consider creatin’ some a youse that speak English.”
Talos processed the jibe, but refused to respond.
The parts of the hov emerged from under the axis and inside the hood rapidly, and as each part was altered Talos put it to one side, constantly tinkering with the settings of the vehicle. Doogs had not taken the suggestion of retiring to the first floor, and slept in the bar, his head on the counter. Every so often he shifted in his sleep, threatening to fall to the floor. Charlie had disappeared upstairs.
“Hey Doogs, you in here?” The banging on the front door of the bar was as subtle as his type knew.
Talos stopped what he was doing – people had arrived at the bar for the drunk man sleeping off his evening’s inebriation.
“We have to talk Doogs, you know that.”
Talos laid his tools aside and began walked through to the front of the bar.
Doogs opened his eyes. “Wha- Ohshit, them’s the King’s enforcahs.”
“I will take care of this situation. Please go upstairs and see that the boy remains safe.”
Doogs thought about running, but the protection against any continued attention from thugs who wanted to extort money from him overwhelmed any desire to be rid of the robot. He realized, as he managed his way up the stairs, that he would be better served hanging around with the boy and the bronze man.
Talos opened the door. “How may I be of assistance to you gentlemen?”
The cyclops laughed, while his companions stood guard.
“When did Beanie get himself an artificial? I have to say this, youre probably the ugliest piece of tech on the block. Now, excuse me while I have a word with the drink-slinger.”
“Mr. Beanie is no longer the proprietor of this establishment.”
“Yeah. Since when?”
“His services were terminated earlier today.”
“I’ll still need to speak to him. We have a matter to discuss about one of the bums that hang out here. Moneys are owed.”
“I apologize, but I cannot permit you to enter.”
The muscle accompanying the cyclops stiffened, though they didn’t approach.
“And why can’t you do that.”
“The bar is under new management, and the right to refuse ent-”
The cyclops pushed forward, but was immediately halted by Talos.
“Please do not exacerbate the situation.”
Doogs slipped into the room Charlie had picked out, closing the door as quietly as he could behind him. The boy was sleeping. Doogs thought about waking him, but knowing how Talos had acted earlier when confronted made him think twice about rousing Charlie from his sleep. Seeing a cot in the corner of the room, Doogs made his way across and sat down, wondering if he would be killed first by the enforcers or by the crazed metal man who had invaded his life.
Talos held the suit’s wrist at an angle. “You are not welcome here.”
“Smoke this bucket of bolts,” The cyclops yelled.
Talos spun, launching the cyclops into the bar as his companions drew their weapons.
“This is what ya get for fucking with the Kings.”
Doogs listened as gunfire erupted beneath him. The boy stirred, but did not wake. The crashing and banging below continued for a moment before silence once again prevailed. The sound of metal being hit carried clearly through the floorboards, and soon footsteps began coming up the stairs. It would be the enforcers, Doogs thought – they’ve destroyed th’ robot, and now they’re gonna come up th’ stairs an’ put a bullet in me an’ th’ kids heads.
The door opened.
Doogs looked up, expecting to come face to face with the wrong end of a weapon. Talos stood silhouetted in the doorway. The cybeye of the enforcer clutched in his hand, blood dripping on the floor. It appeared the robot had taken even more damage in the fight, but it didn’t appear to be affecting his ability to frighten the life out of Doogs.
“I suggest you remain upstairs for the remainder of the night. I will continue repairs on the vehicle.”