Deft Beck

Spatial Delivery

Chapter 5

March 29th, 2011

Rated T for:

Mild Language

Deft Beck: Author

Just when I'd sworn off drinking...

He's not getting up.

Guy was hit by a street-cleaner. Tough luck, I know, but why now? I thought those things ran at night.I can hear them scrub away down the barren streets at night; they're my entertainment when I can't sleep, which eats up a lot of my time these days. It was one of very few things that were constant in my current life situation. Wish I could say that Robin had the same problem; lucky her, gobbles up the damn white noise.

I stood my ground as I surveyed the situation and tried to take this whole mess into perspective. Agent Newcastle (quite the title!) seems fine. Just got knocked the hell over, which didn't make sense, as those street-cleaning 'bots don't go that fast. Clean-bot's beeping a lot, which isn't making my heart rate go down any faster. It's probably signaling its station or something.

I wipe the sweat off my forehead and squat near the agent. Dead as a doornail. Well, to be honest, that's not really appropriate in relation to a robot. They don't really die as much as they just don't function, whereupon their maintainers would then scour the "carcass" for parts, like a metallic buffalo or something.

Something about that thought makes me shiver, moreso than the weirdly cold temperature all of a sudden. When I die, would I be -

Wait, what's that down there? I kept my position and zoomed my eyes into the small, coal-colored rectangle down on the ground near where the agent's coat draped onto the grey pavement. I almost didn't notice it.

Picking it up, I see that it's almost paper-thin. Doesn't look like any sort of memory card I recognize. Maybe it's a lifecard? Hell if I would have one of those on me; Robin keeps them at the duo. Most of the time, I just get scanned and boom, I'm verified. Kinda strange to see one in physical form these days, and even then, why would a robot have a lifecard on him...?

I looked around to see if anyone was looking (no one was around, period!) and then started to search for a slot. Guy's a real creep-show, but he has a great finish! I can see my ugly mug in his plating!

The pat-down stopped when I found a slot that matched the width of the card. I slid it in, apparently locking in place.

All of a sudden, I hear a crackling sound resonate from deep within his chestplate. I flinch and run back a yard or so as he starts to boot up. Wonder what kind of a system he runs on. All of the government-owned 'bots around here run a closed-source backend, but I have no idea about this big guy.

I look up at his head, he's lost that glow in his eyes. Suddenly, his head jerked up.

"lETTERMAnnn," it droned in my direction. Was he talking to me? I glance around, caught in a sudden headache that was either shock or confusion.

"What?" I raise my hands outward, to shrug as I say this to him, approaching him slowly. "I don't know-"

"lETTERMANnn, WE MUST CONTINuue THE INVESTIGATIOon," he elaborated, still as low-baud as when he pressed me up against that wall.

I shook my head. I hoped to God I wasn't just having a fever dream. It didn't make any sense to me, all of this. There's just too much going on, too fast. Even then, though, I want to find Robin; she's my first priority. Without her, there's no deliveries, and no security. I just want things to make sense for once, and maybe this Newcastle guy can help, even if he's still a-

"qUICKLY, WE MUST MANAGE OUR BOUNDARIessss-szt-KRZTtttch." Newcastle concluded, tilting his head to the side and rolling it around his shoulders, slowly but fludily. All the while, his arms were to his side, shifting slightly with his movements, but otherwise staying locked in place. He was a bipedal automaton, wheeled only for pursuit, as far as I could tell. Maybe he worked for the police? Even then, I've never seen anything quite like him. He seems a bit...underbaked, for lack of a better word. Must have had donuts on the mind. What am I, a cop all of a sudden? So much for the delivery boy gig...

I scratched my thick stubble as I continued to give him the look-over, not that he minded. All of this was questionable, but another thing caught my eye, right as I saw it.

From here, I could see that his eyes were busted in, which explains the rattling I heard when he got up. He was blind.

"wwwwWhere ARE YOuuu, lETTERMAnn..."