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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Metallic Heart - Chapter 17

 Monica not being available was not good, not good at all.
 The longer a bot remains shorted out, the more potential long term damage the excess heat and burned out fuses could cause.  
 Although I was not comfortable relying on a different mechanic, I had to make a choice where there was no choice.
 “I guess we will just have to hope this other mechanic will have enough expertise to fix him,” I said to Mia.
 “Yes, I guess so,” Mia said not sounding very confident.
 In the meantime, the sparks continued to shoot out of the president’s neck.  Time was of the essence and I hoped that the mechanic would get there soon.
 While standing there, staring at the president, I wondered why he was standing on that side of the desk when he shorted out.  It almost appeared that he was casually leaning there talking to someone else who may have been sitting in one of the chairs.
 In the time I have worked under President Aron, I have never known him to be casual around anyone unless he really, really knew them. If he was sitting at the edge of his desk talking to someone, why did they leave after he shorted out?  Why did they not help him?
 It did not make sense to me, but it was not the time to try and sort it all out.
 My focus had to be on trying to get the president fixed as soon as possible. 
 Time seemed to creep by and there was no sign of the mechanic.  Mia called once again; attempting to reach Monica and was assured that a qualified mechanic was on the way.
 “This is an odd time for the president to short out,” Mia said after a while.
 “I was thinking the same thing.  Do you think this has something to do with the press conference?”

“Maybe, he seemed to be on edge the rest of the day yesterday.  Perhaps his emotional response system just could not take the pressure.”
“Yes, but still…it is odd.”
 “I think I should call his bot mate.”

“Yes, that would be wise,” I answered as we continued to stare.
 Mia pulled out her cell phone once again and called Priscilla; filling her in on the situation.
 Priscilla arrived quickly; as if she started out on her jets as soon as she heard Mia’s concerned voice.  “Oh Aron!  I told you that this job would eventually get the best of you,” she said, not surprised that his system finally gave in to the pressure.
 “How long has he been like this?”  Priscilla asked.

“We do not know.  He was like this when we got here,” I answered.
 The mechanic that finally arrived was one I had never seen before.  If the situation was not so serious, I may have taken the time to ask of his qualifications, or at least his name.  But instead we allowed him to get right to work.
 First the mechanic attempted to remove the President’s skull plate to gain access to President Aron’s central processing unit.  He seemed to have a hard time unscrewing it. “It is practically melted on,” he said, frustrated. 
 “Melted on?”  Mia, Priscilla and I said at the same time.  Neither of us had never heard of a bot overheating to the point that their skull plate melted on.

After spending some time fiddling around, the mechanic was finally able to unscrew it. “OK, I have it off,” the mechanic said sounding just as relieved as we all felt.
 “Oh my!”  The mechanic suddenly said, slightly backing away from the President.
 “What is it?” I asked.

“I cannot fix him.  The President did not just short out.”
 “It looks like someone took a blowtorch to him.  His whole system has been burned out...”
 “He is not repairable.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “There has to be something you can do!”
 “I am sorry, but this is now a crime scene.  The President has been murdered.”
 It took a minute for the mechanic’s words to sink in.  Murdered?  It was a word unheard of within the bot community.  How can a bot…a mechanical being…be murdered?  
 Mia and I stood shocked.  “Murdered?” I repeated at last. 
 I do not think that any of us had ever realized that such a thing could happen.
 Priscilla had a really hard time comprehending what the mechanic was telling us.  “So how long will it take to replace his central processing unit and get him back in working order?” She asked.
 “Ma’am, it cannot just be replaced.  If we put in a new system, he would be a different bot…no longer having the same thoughts, memories or personality.”

“How could this happen?”
 “Someone really knew what they were doing.  Even I never thought it possible,” the mechanic answered.

This got my attention.  There are not many who would know how to completely destroy a bot.
 “This is not acceptable!  I demand that you fix him immediately!  If you cannot do it, then you need to find someone who can!”
 “I am so sorry for your loss madam first lady, but no one could repair him.  His system has been completely destroyed.”
“No!”  Priscilla insisted. “Where is Monica!”
“Bots cannot be murdered.  We are…we…dead?”  She said finally losing steam and realizing that there is really no way to repair her bot mate.
The mechanic turned to me.  “I am really sorry.  I would advise you to call the cops.  This is now in their hands.”
I walked over to him.  “Thank you for trying.”
“I really did all I could,” he said once again, I am sure in an attempt to remove any liability for the President’s death from himself.

“I know,” I assured him.

“Oh no!  The President is dead!” He suddenly cried out; for the first time really letting the situation sink in.
“The President is dead!”  He said once again walking toward the door.
Mia stood to the side, not speaking.  I could see her grief all over her face.
With everyone in the middle of dealing with the news in their own way, I could see that I had to be the one to gain control of the situation.
“Mia, call the police,” I directed.



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