Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Murder In Skin City - Part Four

Murder In Skin City: Part Four

I hoped that my audio sensors were on the fritz when my new boss told me that we only had four security 'bots, including the two of us, to patrol an entire city where humans and robots would be living side by side for the first time. The thought was too ridiculous. There had to be an explanation.

"Only four sir?" I asked.

"John, the human and robot liason will explain inside," he said, gesturing to the nearest of the three doors inside the compound. "I leave you in his care. I have preparations to make."

With that, he turned and headed toward the farthest door. I assumed that one must have been his office. I filed the information away for future reference and stepped toward my door. It opened silently and instantly by vertical lift. Inside I beheld what could only be the comman center. Screens and docks were everywhere. The room, however, was dominated by the strangest looking robot I had ever seen.

"You must be Zed!" it exclaimed as it rushed forward to invade my personal space. "A pleasure to finally meet you! I am John, human and robot liason designation HR-5653."

I don't know what it was that I was expected him to look like, but it sure as hell wasn't the thing in font of me. His shell was slighter in build than most 'bots, kind of pansy looking if you ask me. Not much detail about the shell could be made out though, mainly because he appeared to be wearing clothing. A robot wearing a suit. Just what the screwed up universe needed most. I was beginning to feel like I was in an old human circus. The dark tan suit with a blue tie was not the most disturbing part of John's appearance, as absurd as that was. He had a face.

Sure, almost every robot had something resembling a face. Visual sensors that mimicked eyes, a recessed speaker bar where a mouth should be: that sort of thing. John had a human face. Rather, he had what a robot must have reckoned a human face should be. It had some sort of synthetic covering for skin, and fully animatronic features. His blue eyes blinked from time to time. His mouth moved, stretched, and contorted with each word it spoke. Even his "eyebrows" moved.

"Um, hello," I managed after a moment's shock.

"I can hardly believe I'm standing here with you! I've read all about you," he gushed. I couldn't take my eyes off of the bizarre spectacle going on on his "face".

"Read about me?" I inquired, surprised.

"Oh yes. Your case files from the reservation are most interesting. Your handling of the incident--" he started to say.

"No offense John, but I really don't want to discuss that," I said, quickly cutting him off.

"But you handled it flawlessly I thought," he began again.

"Why do we only have four security members for an entire city?" I barked. That shut him up momentarily.

"Ah. Yes, that is most interesting! Please allow me to introduce your subordinates. They are the first of the NHZ security series... Dex and Rex!" he said as he pressed a switch on the wall behind him.

Two large wall panels slid away to reveal a pair of behemoth robots. They were incredibly impressive pieces of hardware. The were hulking examples of the best in armor for one thing. The weapons were obviously top of line as well. They stepped forward with thundering strides, perfectly in step with one another.

"NHZ-127 and 128 reporting for duty sir!" they said in unison.

"Impressive," I said. I meant it too. "At ease."

I heard a release of air and was amazed as sections of the armor receded into their shells. Their helmets also released and retracted. That was when I saw them.


They gave them faces too.

NEXT: The humans arrive (honest! They really do this time!)

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