Matthias limped out of the teleporter into his lounge, the lights activated overhead, as normal.
‘Berkeley! Where’s your nearest service centre?’
He entered the lounge. No response.
The dog’s form lay motionless on the floor at the far end of the couch. Matthias approached and knelt, rolling his lifeless body onto his back. There were no emissions at all, his carcass entirely lifeless. Matthias located the number he had wanted internally, and dialed.
‘Hello. Natural Robotics Service Centre, you’re speaking to Mike.’
‘Hi Mike, I’m looking to order some parts. I’m hoping you have them in stock.’
‘Sure, do you have an account, or..?’
‘I’m just a hobbyist, but I am an employee: ID 115918.’
‘Okay..’ Mike breathed into the phone as he tapped the number into a keypad. ‘Matthias Drake. No worries. What can I do for you?’
‘I have something of a list here, I’m hoping I could have them delivered, it’s kind of urgent.’
‘Well, I don’t know if we can do it today, but give me your list and I’ll see what I can do.’
Matthias began to recite a long list of parts from memory, pausing between each as Mike noted and confirmed them. During the process, Berkeley’s corpse began to radiate a glimmer of energy, something small, deep within his torso.
‘Berkeley?’ He interrupted Mike: ‘Hold on just a second.’
Focusing on Berkeley’s chassis, he was able to “see” through his skin without pulling his friend apart. There was a small nodule embedded in his chest, a foreign object. Depressing a pressure point in his neck, he pried Berkeley’s plastic ribcage open to reveal his internals. There was something at the centre, embedded against his spine. Chemicals, a timer.. it was a completely independent unit.
Matthias ran for the far wall as an explosion tore through the apartment, a wall of flame on his heels. The blast accelerated his momentum as he leapt into the tapestry, his heavy frame shattered through the plaster, his body crumpling through the entrance to a ventilation shaft. His skin seared, shards of steel slicing through his skin, his thin layer of flesh searing against the heated metal as he crawled through to an intersection.
At the rear of the building, an exhaust fan and cover burst from their mounting and bounced, clattering, against the rear of a dumpster and fell broken on the concrete. Matthias slipped out onto the pavement and crawled to the wall, wrapping his arms around his smoking form. Skin and blood still covered most of his frame, but large patches were missing, his true form visible across much of his torso and legs. Sirens wailed nearby. Matthias dialed Stacey.
‘Stacey? I need your help.’
‘Where are you?’ There was a sincere worry in her voice.
‘I need you to meet me at the rear of my building. Do you have my address?’
‘1313 Tennyson Road. Please, I’m in trouble.’
‘I’ll be right there,’ she faltered.
Well, I can’t say I didn’t expect it but it’s getting difficult to keep up with writing this novel and studying. Hope you appreciate the new page 🙂 I intend to continue the current rate of a page every two days while I can. – Kyle
P.S. I actually own (or is it truly a lease?) a copy of Microsoft Office now and will be writing from there. So if the pages become slightly shorter, it’s because I’ll be posting from an edited Word page rather than a more-or-less double written page. I write best with a pen.