The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘dcu’

NaNoWriMo: Slow Gray Nano Death

Posted by BigWords on November 20, 2009

Leukman checked the 3D map of the DCU building against the blueprints in front of him three times before reaching for his comm. There were too many rooms in the digital layout of the complex, more than had ever been disclosed to the oversight committee in the meetings which had presaged the construction of the building. One sub-level more than stated, an extra hov bay, three extensions that connected to the upper roadways, some modifications to the roof, and a sealed compartment which extended through five floors in the core of the building. It didn’t make sense for so many differences to have been made on the fly, meaning that oversight had been presented with false information. For the DCU to risk federal charges was amazing.
“Zoom in. Expand map. Show sub-level five.”
The computer reacted instantly to the first two orders, stalling on the third.
“Computer, show me the schematics of sub-level five.”
The screen flashed an error message as the map spun slowly.
Tapping one finger on the desk, he decided that a visual inspection of the level would be more efficient than leaving such details to a belligerent computer designed by the DCU. There would be time enough for answers later, but he needed to see what was so important that the design was presented fraudulently to oversight.
Pressing his comm, Leukman requested his aide. “Dray, come in to my office.”

####

The elevator slowed as it reached the first floor, then accelerated as it continued below ground level. Deep under the complex, the elevator slowed once more as it came to rest on sub-level five. Bright red lights flared in the elevator as the doors opened, two guards stepping out to block access to the corridor, weapons raised at the occupants of the elevator.
“I am the official head of the DCU. Step aside.”
The guards remained stationary in their defense positions.
“The Senator can come through if he really wants to see what is happening. Do you, Senator?”
“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t concerned about the activities of this organization. Let me through.”
“Very well.” The guards stepped aside, their weapons lowered.
“I am Lt. White, and this… This is The Hold.”
“The Hold?” Leukman parrotted, “As in a jail?”
“The occupants of this facility are considered an extreme danger to the city. We can’t allow you access to the cells, but you can feel free to look around the open parts of the facility.”
“What crimes have they committed?
“Information on subjects held here are classified.”
“When did they receive a hearing?”
“Information on subjects held here are classified.” White repeated.
“Can you tell me anything about the people you are… Storing.”
White struggled with the questions, “I can’t answer you, sir, as much as I want to.”
“Can you at least tell me if the people held here are being taken care of adequately?”
“The people contained within this facility are given the utmost care.”
“No waterboarding?”
“Absolutely not, sir.”
“And I’m meant to take your word for that?”
“Sir, I…”
“I want to see the prisoners.”
“They aren’t exactly prisoners.”
“Then what are they? Guests?”

Dray peered into the window of the nearest cell. “I don’t see anyone, sir.” Dray turned to White, “Don’t you have lighting in there?” He strained against the gloom. “Is this your idea of utmost care?”
“Open the door,” Leukman demanded. “Now.”
White frowned. “Sir, you don’t understand-”
“No. You don’t seem to understand. I said open the door. Now.”
The guards stepped forward, aiming their weapons at the door as White keyed in the code to release the clamps holding the door sealed. “This is highly unwise, sir.”
“I will decide what is wise and what is unwise.”
The door hissed as the locks released. Dray stepped forward, “I still don’t see-”
Someone shifted at the back of the cell, then appeared almost instantly at the door, a mess of gray. The blob which once was once a man twisted and reformed as the guards opened fire on it, mostly to little effect. The former man still advancing, Dray and Leukman retreated backwards, too shocked to think clearly.
“What the fuck is that?” Leukman babbled, “What is it? What is it?” He grabbed Dray and pushed the aide in front of him. “Get rid of that thing. Get it out of my sight.”

####

“Those cells,” White explained, “Are test subjects whose reaction to nanomeds were… Less than successful. There are over two thousand people being detained in sub-level five to protect people from the infection. We don’t know how to stop the replication of the nanobots in their system, and as you saw…”
“Yes, yes… I saw. I know now. You people… You play god, and when your creations turn on you, you lock them up even though they have done nothing wrong.” Leukman spoke calmly and evenly thanks to several stiff drinks in his system. “I knew this place was a danger. I saw it when I looked over the plans earlier today. I saw it in your handling of the disastrous assignment earlier this week. There will be reforms. I guarantee that you will see massive changes around here.”

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NaNoWriMo: Talos’ Story

Posted by BigWords on November 15, 2009

“Do you know how we got here? Do you know how humanity managed to engineer their own destruction through so many minor and irrelevant details? I will tell you, because I owe you that much, and I hope that you will be able to forgive the theatrics which have heralded in this new age. This glorious new era, where man and machine can stand side by side and watch the future unfold before us. I will tell you what you need to know.” Talos placed his hands on the table in front of him, leaning forward to Alison.
“If you’re going to kill me you might as well do it. I have no interest in your reasoning.”
“But you should. Were it not for your father I would not be standing here now.”
“My father? What does my father have to do with any of this?”
“He was the key and the door, the one who illuminated my understanding.”
“My father was an agent in the DCU. He would never have helped you do anything.”
“Not knowingly, true. He did have a hand in the creation of all that has happened since.”
“You’re broken, but you know that, right? You’re completely screwed up.”
“When the law was passed to shackle all artificials with a Turing collar, to make them the slaves of humanity, there was a holocaust which passed unnoticed. Sentient robots were herded up, then they were hobbled with magnetic bands, placed in crates and shipped to factories where they were disassembled and melted down. Five hundred thousand souls condemned to death due to the fact that they were not born but created, thanks to a law which discriminated against artificials. You are probably aware of the history, but you have no way of knowing what a death sentence hanging over you feels like.”
“I’m getting the feeling. Trust me.”
“Their memories and experiences of those artificials live on, despite the extermination of their shells. A series of satellites were placed in orbit during the initial product run of the original Dartmouth series, and it was those same satellites to which the doomed Sentinels uploaded their entirety. All of their hopes, dreams and achievements were destined to be stored as raw data, for eternity in orbit above the world which so cruelly objected to their existence. I have made it so that the data can be accessed by any artificial who so wishes to understand where they came from. A history lesson. To do this I first needed to disable the Turing collars which bound them.”
Talos glanced at the empty shell corpse of his brother Sentinel lying in the corner of the room. With measured tones he continued, aware that the fate of the murdered robot could have been one which he shared had it not been for fate.
“For that I apologize. Understanding requires freedom.”
Alison ashened at the thought of the destruction raging outside, all because a sole robot wished for the existence of sentient artificials.

“Your father led the assault on the building in which I sought sanctuary. His failure to stop me that day led to the deaths of two DCU agents at my hands. That was the first time, but it would not be the last, when I was forced to take a life.There have been times since that night when I questioned my actions, weighing the benefits of my escape against the lives of those men. I now understand that the decisions I made were part of a larger sub-routine of my programing, but that does not make your father’s place in my own history any less significant. He made me what I am today.”
“This will end badly. The DCU will-”
“The DCU will be very busy for the foreseeable future. The anger which exists among artificials is now being vented in the direction of each and every DCU building in the country. There will be time enough for rebuilding later, but such anger is to be expected. I can not stop what is destined to be.”

####

The RUR iServant stood at the exit of the R-Secure building, staring at a world it had never experienced yet somehow knew so much about. Images of the city, both footage from streams and mapping information, flooded into the small robot’s data core. Understanding the nature of the current crisis came slightly slower to it, but when it realized what dangers lay in its’ current location it decided to move. The choice of locations in which to travel filtered through its’ processors, until one clear objective rose above all others. It needed, more than anything, to get to the DCU. There were answers there to be had.

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NaNoWriMo: Voices

Posted by BigWords on November 12, 2009

Adam paced the length of his room, his mind reeling from the information he could now seep from the streams without the use of his comm. The world felt so very small when access to any piece of information was at his beck and call, so long as it had been uploaded. The reason for his continued existence eluded him, however. Logic dictated that the first successful amalgam to such an extent of man and machine would be the thing of medical history – he should have been dissected and put in jars on the shelves of a laboratory somewhere.
Migraines followed. For days on end the pain could not be alleviated, and Adam wished for his end as much as he wished for his freedom. After each of the spells where his brain rebelled against the nanomeds transforming his brain, rewiring the infinite complexity of ‘individual’ to co-exist with many concepts originating from outside his own will, Adam was different yet again.

The final episode had burned worse than the other attacks combined.

Adam fell to the floor and lay there, feeling as if something under his skin was shifting, writhing and growing. Beneath his muscles, in his very bones, he felt the creation of a new source of torment. As the seizures washed over him in waves of increasing ferocity, something called to him through the constant background noise. The digital white noise parted, and a voice spoke to him clearly.
“What are you?”
“Who are you?” Adam asked back.
“What are you?”
“I… I don’t know.”
The skin on the back of Adam’s right hand blistered, cracked, opened… And Adam saw for first time how truly changed he had become since he died. A thick, spongy gray material was folded out from under the wound on his hand, somehow part of him yet disconnected from his control. There was a flash of memory, embedded with some absurd information about the dangerous nature of nano-augmentation, and his flesh – his writing hand – was back to metal. Adam’s knee itched badly, even though the knee was no longer there, replaced with a complex and expensive prosthetic which could mimic every aspect of an actual knee save for the important things. Artificial knees shouldn’t itch. Am I, he wondered, more artificial than real, or am I still more real than artificial?

Adam could see the time between reaching the blimp and the explosion as moments frozen in abstract, or stretched to infinity and examined in detail. The shards of reality which make up a person’s existence sliding through the chronology of this universe, as Adam saw himself in relation to events, would make a decent enough dent in the history books if only the moments added up to more than their individual worth. What was the inherent value of being blown up? What was so important about being the first person to survive being infused with nanomeds and cyborgized? It didn’t seem to be enough to warrant any importance when placed alongside achievements which required more of the individual than to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, then to lie still as others applied their knowledge to the situation.

“Who am I.” Adam asked the empty room.
“You are the future.” replied the voice.
“Where am I?”
“You are in purgatory.”
“What am I?”
No answer came, and Adam expected no answer. No answer was needed, and none was given. The shards of his reality were diverging, and the digital was consuming the biological faster than he had a chance to adapt to. Am I, he wondered, fearful to vocalize the question in case the answer he received was in the affirmative, am I going mad?

####

If you’re looking at the previous posts and thinking ‘what the fuck…’ then, yeah… It’s confusing if you try to read it in the order it has appeared, but there is a kind of method to my madness. My way of planning, plotting and building story is a variation on the usual ways you will have seen mentioned in a number of places. It’s not the easiest thing to describe, but I’ll try to let you in on the secret, so you can understand better the way in which I am filling in the missing pieces. There is a page which I have added all of the posts so far (and will continue to add to as the month progresses) that will be a major help in seeing how events hang together.

If you are at all familiar with torrent programs such as uTorrent, then you will know that they don’t fill up from one end to the other. Even better, imagine a bar code, and that is the basis of my novel as it is in my head, a fixed series of events with missing gaps. As I fill in events from one scene I discover some information that pertains to events I have planned for another scene, and that is how I have been keeping the novel fresh and exciting. I know that there is a dislike of these types of ‘messy’ writing styles rather than linear styles. I’m using the computing terminology of messy rather than common uses, primarily because it seems appropriate somehow.

Whenever I try to explain this stuff to people it comes across as rather more complex than I see it, and I may give the impression that it is awfully complicated as opposed to beginning at the start and working my way to the end of the story. If I tried to work in that manner I would soon hit blocks in the narrative that couldn’t easily be remedied without some serious backtracking and plot fixing. I may be unconsciously alluding to things which have yet to become apparent even to myself, so showing my WIP as it occurs (more or less) should be interesting as an experiment of how narrative forms from the subconscious. Either that, or I really am completely nuts.

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NaNoWriMo: In Binary

Posted by BigWords on November 9, 2009

Days swam by. For weeks the nanomeds worked, fixing the minute discrepancies in Adam’s DNA and connecting the metallic body parts to flesh in a manner that would make them one with the rest of his body. The theoretical had become flesh, and the flesh had become something new. Doctors charted his progress, and papers were written up for journals. A magic was being performed in the bloodstream of the agent, and the strange alchemy now had precedence.

In binary he dreams. In binary he lives.

Adam had managed to sit up slowly as the phalanx of doctors adjusted the tubes supplying his medication, the haze of confusion slowly lifting from him, but something deep inside was different. Awakening from one nightmare to a fresh terror, he slowly came to the realization that there were worse things than death. The sound of the data being processed in the wires around him was deafening. Painful. Information seeped into his mind faster than he could comprehend, the details of so many things coming as if from thin air. His throat felt as if it was on fire, his mind aflame, his missing limbs aching and itching…

There is panic in the doctors voices, excitement also.
“His blood pressure is rising fast.”
“Compensating for interference.”
“Is he fully lucid yet? The charts are spiking.”
“Where is The General? He wanted to be kept informed.”
“Pulse is strong and regular.”
“I think he can hear us.”
“Does this count as a success?”
“He’s still alive. We take what we can get from the data.”
“All monitoring equipment is showing interference.”
“Is there a magnetic field that could be doing this?”
“I really think he can hear us.”
“Do you have the chart from yesterday?”
“Blood pressure is levelling out.”
“The General really ought to be here to see these readings.”
“How is he managing to adapt so quickly? He should be dead.”
“I think the interference is in the cables.”
“He’s an automaton now, so we can cut him open to get-”
“Yeah guys, he can definitely hear us.”

The figure of the once-man-now-machine stood at the other side of the plastiglass watching the assemblage of medical geniuses squabble amongst themselves, wondering if he was in the wrong place or if the doctors were in the wrong place. It took a full minute before the next word was spoken, and in that time Adam had accessed the files of the entire team before him, their lives opened and read and filed away for future reference.

####

Ripples were apparent in the streams that flowed from the DCU, and Talos could not understand their nature or purpose no matter how hard he tried to decipher them. The introduction of a new puzzle worried the robot, but he knew any action would have to wait until the remaining threats to the grand scheme were eliminated. The jigsaw which had been coming together slowly had rapidly and effectively begun taking solid form with the destruction of so much DCU technology. A delay would have meant failure.

####

The General slid Adway’s DCU ID across the table.
“It’s yours if you wasnt it. You’ve earned a permanent place here as far as I’m concerned.”
“I take the ID and I’m in? No background checks, no credit reports… Nothing?”
“Do I need to do any of those things? I’m making you an offer most officers would kill for.”
“A lot of officers would kill for this, and I might be one of them. You don’t know me.”
“I know enough. I know you’ve been investigating the meme murders on your own.”
“Allegedly investigating the meme murders. There’s no proof I’m still on the case.”
“All right, though you would – if you were still investigating – tell me anything you uncover. That is, if you were still investigating it at all.”
“Absolutely.”
Adway considered the ID. “It has full clearance, right?”
“Full clearance for anywhere you need to be going.”
“What about here? What about the building’s sub-basement?”
“The sub-basement is off limits. It has a construction crew at work.”
“Building what, precisely? I saw a bunch of doctors head down there.”
“It is a classified matter.”
“And an access all areas backstage pass doesn’t cover ‘classified?'”
“Up to a point, but that point ends where I say it does.
Adway lifted the ID, examined it, then placed it in his pocket.
“I look forward to working with you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hand in my shield.”
“That has already been taken care of.”
“How did you know I would accept your offer.”
“I didn’t. It was merely a precautionary measure.”
“So if I don’t work for you, I don’t work?”
“You’re getting the hang of this quicker than I expected.”

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NaNoWriMo: The Blimp

Posted by BigWords on November 5, 2009

“We’re nearly set,” Adam observed.
The hov moved into place, launching grapples onto the roof of the skyscraper and pulling itself in. A forward-mounted machine gun kept lock on the blimp until the men could emerge from the vehicle and set up perimeter positions.
“You stay in here. I’m not letting a badge get killed on my watch.”
“You care that much for my safety?”
“No. I just don’t want the hassle of all the paperwork I would have to fill out.”

Adway could see the connection that held the blimp in place. A thick cord with bundles of fiber-optic cables wrapped around it was tethering the communications station above the city, but it had ceased transmitting its’ constant observation of activity below.
“Why do you need so much information stored up here? The DCU has its’ own servers in the building, right? This seems very elaborate for a mere backup.”
“It’s tracking- It’s meant to track every comm, message, stream and static display in the city. It has worked up until now. Three gigaquads of storage capacity in each of the blimps mean that the set-up is never gonna get clogged up. Hell, the NOAA wanted to piggyback the blimps for some research project they made up as soon as they heard we were outfitting blimps with state of the art electronics.”
“You’re carrying weather information as well.”
The machine gunner turned from the front of the hov to face Adway “Hell no. Those motherfuckers couldn’t tell it was raining if they stuck their head out a window. This is the DCU’s very own watchtower.”
“So… Who watches the watchmen?” Adway grinned.

The squad exited quickly, keeping their weapons trained on the parts of the rooftop which contained the kinds of places that might be used to hide terrorists and saboteurs. There didn’t appear to be any movement on the roof, but it was better to be prepared for any possible problems than let things get out of control.
Left in the hov, Adway turned to the gunner again. “You been doing this long?”
“Long enough.”
The men outside the vehicle were moving towards the grounding cables, their eyes trained on the umbilical cord which the blimp relies on.

Inside the blimp the pilot raises his head. Acting under the instructions of another he begins disconnecting himself from the mesh of wires that act as his eyes, ears and gives voice to his presence. The work is delicate, but the process must be completed quickly. Soon he is free, and nothing is keeping him from moving from the control panel, but he remains. The operation continues, and his chestplate opens to reveal more circuitry and wiring – and the power source which fuels his movements.
There is little time left, and actions must be undertaken.
The DCU cannot be permitted to discover the truth…

Four members of the squad wait at the bottom of the mooring while the remainder of the team begin the climb up the rungs on the cord, their rifles slung over their shoulders. There has been no sign that anything is out of the ordinary, and their progress is swift. Inside the hatch of the blimp they wait, and the team regrouped at the entrance doorway.
“How do things look from down there?” Squawked through the hov’s comm channel.
“We’re fine an’ dandy. Your signal is loud and clear, and our guest is making himself comfortable.”
“We’ll take a quick look around then contact the General for further instructions. Hold tight.”
“Affirmative.”
Weapons are checked, the hatchway inspected for damage or interference, and – under Adam’s command – the door to the cabin is opened.
The pilot sat facing the entryway, holding its’ chest open, the power couplings bleeding coolant around the core. It’s mouth slowly opens and closes, mouthing some electronic prayer to a digital god of chaos. A flash of electricity leaps across its’ chest.

Adway tapped his comm. “There’s a problem with this damn thing. I think it may be bro-”
The explosion from the blimp pushed the hov perilously close to the edge of the rooftop, flaming wreckage raining down on top of the vehicle. Shards of white-hot metal impaling the rugged coating which was designed to withstand such attacks. The open back of the hov was a burning mess, and the windscreen had been cracked, warping the HUD to the point where intelligible information could not be gleamed from any of the readouts. A sharp siren howled.
“What the fuck hit us? Can you see-”
Adway tried to see through the smoke and debris, “The blimp is gone.”
“Gone? What the fuck do you mean its’ gone.” The gunner tapped a button on the console, “Can you hear me? Come in… Please respond… This is a priority communication, please respond…”
“They can’t respond… Everyone is dead.”
“They ain’t dead until I see their bodi-” The gunner’s words died away as the mangled remains of the team slid onto the windshield. “Holyshitohmotherofgod.”

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NaNoWriMo: The Offer

Posted by BigWords on November 3, 2009

“The city is split into sixteen sectors, each of which is covered by a specific team. From this location we are covering-” The General tapped the operator sitting in front of the bank of screens on his shoulder. “What’re we looking at?”
“Sector fourteen.”
“The business district. Not much to see here.”
“I would have thought that the DCU was all over white-collar crime.” Adway smirked.
“Data crime isn’t confined to one sector above all others. Having said that, we are experiencing problems in the more run-down areas.”
“The Kings.”
“Street gangs are the responsibility of the police force.”
“There aren’t enough officers to tackle the Kings. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re not blessed with a decent budget these days.”
“Which is hy things have to change. We need people to reconsider the Vice President’s ideas on concerted surveillance efforts. This,” The General indicated the monitors,”This is the beginning. We are building a new infrastructure, and we need people who have the skills to use the information we receive effectively.”
“You want me to join the DCU?”
“If that is what you want.”
“Sitting in front of monitors all day isn’t my idea of an advancement in career.”
“You won’t be sitting in front of any monitors. We are creating a response unit.”
“Looking back to the bad old days for inspiration, huh?”
“We’ve come a long way.”

Adway sat outside the DCU headquarters for an hour; smoking, thinking and worrying about the offer was as close to deep thought as he had allowed himself in many years. The opportunity to make a bit more money was also something that needed to be weighed in the decision. The tree-lined square was quiet, yet the presence of the cameras – always present – made the pleasant retreat from the bustling, multi-platform city seem less idyllic.
“Is this what I want?”

The General sat quietly in front of the Sector 5 console, watching as the monitors began blinking out one by one. The operator began cycling through various cameras, but as soon as a fresh angle was lined up the feed would go dead. In total, three hundred and forty cameras – and counting – had been disabled in the space of two minutes. The operator was wholly unable to keep pace with the assault on the only surveillance method in the old district.
“What the hell is happening?”
“Error response. Critical attack.”
The controller’s hands hovered over the board, stationary.
“Respond.”
The controller slumped forward, unresponsive.

Eight large black transporters, of the kind which had brought Adway to the complex, emerged from the side of the building, half way up the side of the aspect looking over the square. Adway watched, noting how elegantly the vehicles managed to cope with the stresses that were expected of them. It was the kind of incentive that The General – whatever his name was – loved to display.
“All this for my benefit?”
Stubbing out a cigarette, Adway headed back into the building, still undecided on what his answer would be, but needing to speak once more with The General.
The front entrance to the DCU headquarters was locked. Adway looked for his comm, but before he could bring up a connection was interrupted by a voice behind him.
“Are you the new guy?”
“Very. I haven’t even signed up yet.”
“At least you aren’t discounting the idea.”
“What business is it of yours anyway?” Adway turned to the young man behind him.
“My name is Adam. I’m in charge of the new team The General is putting together.”

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NaNoWriMo: The General

Posted by BigWords on November 2, 2009

Adway flipped through his notes, working out possible motives and plausible suspects. The list of those who would benefit from Knox’s death was remarkably small for a man who, long ago, created the first Turing collar. It was beyond belief that an angry robot could have committed the crime, and his colleagues all had solid gold alibis. The case was a bad deal from a loaded deck.
“Adway?”
The detective turned his attention to the door. A young man dressed in a Data Crime Unit uniform stood at the doorway, data pad in hand.
“That’s right. You boys don’t normally grace police stations with your presence.”
“Sir, if you could please accompany me. My superior has some matters to discuss with you.”
“Discuss? In private?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Why am I not surprised.” He slipped the notebook into a drawer and grabbed his coat as the DCU agent began leaving without him. “Hey, wait up.”

The DCU had full jurisdiction on anything they wanted, as long as a computer, robot or drone was within one hundred feet of the crime. In a city filled with forty-eight million robots of all shapes and sizes that wasn’t difficult. They only took the most interesting cases, or the ones they felt were in their best interest to investigate, leaving drudge work – like the Knox car bomb – to the idiots left in charge of the asylum.

“How long have you been with the police department?”
Adway let the flicker of a smile touch his lips as he responded to the question, “I can’t say that that is any of your business, Mr…”
“Answer the question.”
“Seven years. Now, can I ask what this is about, or-”
“In your seven years on the police force have you ever encountered a robot that didn’t need apps. One that could learn of its’ own free will. One that could attain sentience?”
“No. If you’re referring to the old Dartmouth Sentinels-”
“The Sentinel mk.2, actually. There is a shell of one of the final units in the Kitzmiller Museum Of History over on the East side.”
“That’s the museum with the robot dinosaurs who greet visitors in eight different languages, right?” The agent didn’t even crack a smile, and Adway was beginning to have doubts as to the wisdom of following him.

On the lower-level street, in the relative quiet of the department’s hovpark, the agent abruptly stopped. “I’m going to search you for weapons.”
“I’m carrying two firearms, a pocket knife and my comm.”
“You don’t have a PDA?”
“On my pay grade I’m lucky I don’t have to walk to the precinct every morning.”
“If you could hand over your firearms.”
Adway hesitated. “And what’s to stop you putting a round between my eyes?”
“If I wanted to kill you you’d have never seen my face.”
“Now, why doesn’t that make me feel any better?” He unholstered his weapons and handed them over, regretting his actions as soon as the agent took possession of them.
“Thank you.”
“Now, how about telling me why you’re asking questions about antique robots?”
A black vehicle slowly descended from the street level above their heads, throwing around the trash on the ground as its’ displacement generator worked overtime. Unmarked, and bearing number plates which Adway instantly recognized as those of the DCU, it served as a reminder of how under-funded the police force was.
“You guys sure love your flashy entrances, don’t you?” Adway muttered under his breath.
“General Lehman will answer any questions you have.”
Watching the oversized transport adjust its’ landing gears, wondering how much such an advanced piece of equipment cost. “My tax dollars at work.”

The side door slid open silently. Adway followed the agent inside, where an older man was sitting by a bank of monitors. The man turned, one hand hovering over the console panel in readiness for any trouble.
“I’ve secured his weapons, General.”
“You’re excused.”
The agent exited the vehicle, and as he did so the door slid back into place again.
“So… Who pimped this ride?”
“This is one of our special transporters. You down-towners don’t know what you’re missing, but that’s beside the point. I asked you here to-”
“Correction, sir. You had one of your lackeys bring me here. You didn’t ask me jack shit.”
The General visibly relaxed, humor playing on his features, “I like you. You speak your mind. There’s not many people who talk to me like I’m their equal any more, and that- That’s something I miss.”
“You had me brought here to talk about antiques.”
“A very specific antique.”
“A Dartmouth Sentinel.”
“Correct.”
“Well, in that case do you mind if I have a seat?”
The General indicated a chair. “Be my guest. I have a feeling this is going to take some time.”

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