Steel, Part Four

Posted: July 12, 2009 in Fiction, Steel

I know that a lot of time has passed since my last post. I know too that this segment is shorter than the others. I have my reasons, and I thank anyone who is willing to stick with me through this. I’ve been working a lot, and it has paid dividends. My checks are large enough to survive, if not begin putting dents in my debt. I’ve also been promoted to Part Time Keyholder at work. This is a management position, and it comes with a pay increase. I got to see Hoegaarden and Chiara and meet Madison. The former two are looking as good, or better than ever, and Madison is beautiful. I feel like we bonded over the Menah-menah song. I’ve been fighting in my brand new helmet, and it feels wonderful. The people around me are encouraging and inspiring me to be better without making me feel like I’m not good enough right now. Lastly, I’ve started reading The Artist’s Way, and begun working through the exercises detailed within its pages. With some work, I won’t ever let my blog lie fallow for so long again.

Iris concentrated, and her fingers flew over the keyboard. Sally shifted and stood up. She heard the crooks say something about a ride being on its way over the din of her crashing the sensor cluster through the ceiling. She flexed the robot’s arms as the cheap paneling fell to the floor in a cloud of dust and debris. Sally’s vision became Iris’s and she spoke. “You aren’t going anywhere,” she breathed. The noise of her rising caught the attention of the saw-wielder.

“I thought I took care of that thing!” He muttered. One of the others shrugged his shoulders, and fired another burst into the police emplacements. The saw- wielder reached to a bandolier slung across his chest and plucked a grenade from it. “Fire in the hole!” He tugged the pin free of its home and skated the explosive along the floor toward Sally. Iris raised one gleaming mechanical hand to cover the gash in Wade’s cocoon. She knew the grenade wouldn’t even scratch Sally. The floor was another matter. The device blew apart the already over-stressed second story floor underneath Sally, and the edges of the ragged hole quickly poured the surrounding detritus and the multi-ton robot into the first floor lobby. Iris couldn’t make sense of what the camera was showing her and Sally fell ungraciously into a mound of junk. More debris fell through as the floor above finally surrendered to the pull of gravity. Desks and cubicle walls closed over Sally’s head, and Iris heard a creaking that heralded the arrival of the burning hunk of police cruiser into the Charybdis of former office space. With a crash, the car topped off the mound.

For some reason, Iris was reminded of when she and Wade first met. She found herself radioing the incident commander to have the chopper follow the escaping men while she dug herself out of the trash heap Sally now inhabited. The burning car rolled aside like a fallen log, and Sally’s chrome arms sprouted out of the pile. The shining pillars of machinery lay down and plucked the rest of the robot out of the hole like a cork from a wine bottle. Iris shook the camera cluster back and forth to clear the dust from the lenses and checked for an update on the crooks. Belatedly, as though it weren’t her idea, she told the incident commander to get a fire crew in to put out the car. Sally’s no longer shining body tilted forward and exploded out of the glass front of the bank, then crouched and rocketed into the air.

As the missile carrying her husband’s damaged form arced toward the nearest hospital, Iris watched a thumbnail feed of the police helicopter and the news chopper following a heavily modified garbage truck. She activated the audio to hear what the reporter was saying. “…Running cars off the road. So far the police have been unable to stop the truck with spike strips or roadblocks. The front of the garbage truck is armored and shows no sign of damage from multiple crashes.” As the reporter spoke, the truck passed through an intersection, bashing its way through cross traffic and sending one car spinning into a storefront. Sally began calculating an intercept route. The red lines and arrows overlaying the image of the city that was now hurtling under her drew Iris’ attention. Wade was still hurt bad, and getting worse. The intercept path grew brighter in her vision. A thought forced its way into her concern for Wade. These men had to be stopped. People were being hurt and killed. She knew what was going on: She and Wade were plugged into each other’s minds via Sally. That was one of the reasons there wasn’t supposed to be a remote link to the robot.

Now that she recognized the fact, she could hear thoughts in his voice. He did what he did to save people. A tear rolled down her cheek in the office. “Stay with me,” she said, and as Sally hit the ground again, the robot turned and jumped in the direction of the chase.

I actually know the story for further than I’m presenting here, but time grows short at the moment. I need to get out in the sun while I have a spare moment. Make sure you enjoy the day as much as I plan to!

  1. Roberta says:

    Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

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