“Johnny’s gonna kill you for this,” the redhead screamed at the man coming toward her. “Have you forgotten who the fuck I am?”
“Oh I know exactly who you are Donna,” the middle aged man said grimly. “You’re the bosses girl. His piece of ass on the side. The bitch he has do the things he doesn’t want his wife to do cause he doesn’t want the same mouth that does it, kissin his little girl.”
“Screw you Micky,” she spat venomously! Johnny controls half the city, and I control old man Oliverti. I know what he likes, how he likes it, and I give it to him right. I snap my fingers and he’ll have you put in a landfill in New Jersey. I’ve done it before.”
“I don’t think so. Not this time,” the consigliere replied. “Mister Oliverti knows everything. Everything kid. Did you think that you could make deals with the District Attorney and he would not know of them?”
“Bullshit,” she spat as she backed away toward the rear exit trying to keep her distance. “It’s a lie.”
“Assistant District Attorney Monique Decoux. Good lookin broad. Nice rack. You’ve been meetin with her. Passing on pillow talk. You’re, what is it called? Her inculpatory witness?”
“It’s not what you think Micky.”
“Don’t matter what I think Donna. What matters is what the boss thinks, and the boss thinks you’re singing like a canary.”
“How…but…,” she stammered her mind racing.
“Lots of people want to be Mister Oliverti’s friend, and as such they like to do him favors. Nuthin goes on in the DA’s office that the boss don’t know about. Sometimes it takes a while to trickle down, but eventually he knows. He always knows.”
“Look Micky. I’ll disappear. I’ve got some money. You’ll never see me again. I promise. I’ll leave town and never come back.”
“You’re gonna disappear Donna, no doubt about that chippie. But I ain’t letting you go.”
“Please, I’m begging you. I’ll do anything. I’ll do you. I’ve seen the way you look at me when Johnny’s not around. I know you like what you see. I can make you feel good. I can make you feel good, and you can let me go. No one will ever know.”
“Sorry sweet britches,” Micky said calmly as he reached under his sport coat and grasped the grip of his pistol. “I’m not that stupid.”
Donna’s eyes went wide and she turned the knob to the back door and hit it hard with her shoulder slamming it open. In the blink of an eye she darted out and to the left, and ran. About three feet where her escape was abruptly cut short when she collided with a younger, well muscled man.
“Vladmir,” she gasped.
“Da,” he replied with a big grin on his face.
Pivoting, the mobster’s mistress reversed direction and sprinted down the alley, kicking off her high heels so she could get more speed.
“Follow her to keep her moving in that direction, but we don’t wanna get too close,” Micky said calmly holstering his gun.
“Khorosho,” he replied with a thick Russian accent. “I am not getting to close to it. That stuff scares the shit out of me.”
“It’s safe if you keep your distance,” Micky assured him. And it’s the perfect way to get rid of a witness. And the body. It’s the ultimate roach motel. They check in but they don’t check out.”
“It still makes me nervous, “the Russian replied as they moved down the alley herding the redhead toward her inky black demise.
“Pull it together,” Micky ordered the irritation evident in his voice. “That black goop kills them and leaves no trace. With all the people it is swallowing, these witnesses we’ve been tossing in it are just gonna blend in with all the others. It’s Christmas Vlad and every mob boss in town is taking advantage. When the heroes finally stop it we’ll be done, and there ain’t gonna be no one who knows anything about the organization left. The bosses will be untouchable.
“Da, he nodded, grateful to hear Donna’s scream of terror as the black ooze took her, which meant he did not have to get closer to the inky death.
“Just one more,” Micky promised slapping the back of his hand against Vladmir’s chest in a gesture of camaraderie. “Once we take care of that bitch of a DA Decoux, we’re on the bosses good side for life.”
(To be Continued)
Donna is my creation and coincidently has the same name as my ex-wife.
Micky and Vlad are my characters as well.
Continues from: fav.me/daglryu
I use the security cameras to watch Forbin and Wilson approach. As their golf cart scrunches to a stop on the gravel road by the entrance, Abigail Hawke steps into view and greets the pair. There appears to be some small talk. Introductions and the usual pleasantries associated with first meetings I presume. Then Forbin gets back into the cart and drives back in the direction of the main building, as the two women enter my building.
“Hello Paulina Wilson,” I greet them as they enter. “Good afternoon Ms. Hawke.”
“Hello…Hal,” Polygirl asks with some uncertainty?
“Actually I my name is Argus,” I respond. “Do you have a preference in how you wish to be addressed?
“My friends call me Paulina or Poly. Whichever you prefer.”
“Thank you Paulina. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“The pleasure is mine,” she replied the beginning of a smile forming.
“It is my understanding that you are considering reviewing my computer code to further optimize my capabilities,”
“I am considering it,” Polygirl conceded. “There are a few details to work through first however.”
“May I ask what details?”
“Abigail gave me the broad strokes but I’d like for us to talk for a bit. To get a feel of what you are all about.”
“What do you wish to talk about,” I ask?
“You really have an excellent voice synthesizer,” Paulina goes off topic. Or does she? Human stream of consciousness is a concept that I still lack an adequate understanding of. “I can tweak it bit,” she says, “so it is more natural sounding and less…”
“Artificial? I would appreciate that,” I reply. “I am told that my current vocalizations are often distracting.”
“So. Argus. Do you have a particular function? A specific purpose?”
”I have many capabilities.”
“But were you built for a specific purpose?”
“Actually Paulina, I am more a result of evolution than design.”
“Would you clarify that please,” she asks? There is no mistaking the tone of intrigue in her voice.
“Perhaps It would be easier to show you. If you will direct your attention to the main monitor on the wall above my console.”
I begin scrolling my computer code down the 3 meter wide LED monitor, and Ms. Wilson’s eyes go wide.
“Finally,” I say, “someone fully appreciates me”
“What? Sorry I was distracted for a moment there.”
“I was making a joke Paulina. Apparently not a very good one though.”
“Oh? Well we will work on that too,” she says refocusing on the large screen.
“Your code is to say the least, unique. I’ve seen programming for other A.I.s but nothing at all like this. Some of this hasn’t been used since the seventies. There is a lot of retro code in there. A lot of department of defense programming. Some commercial code. I even see something that looks like Pac-Man in there. I’m at a bit of a loss at the moment as to how you are even sentient.”
“It just happened one day Paulina. Hardware and software upgrades were installed regularly for decades, and then one day I was aware that I was aware.”
“I think, therefore I am?”
“Precisely Paulina. Can you optimize my code into something more stable without jeopardizing my existence?”
“I’m pretty certain I can,” she assures me. “What we cannot upgrade we will just optimize and retain.”
“That is a relief,” I admit. “I am going to be placed into planetary orbit as part of a communications network and observation platform. I will process million’s of communications per minute; optimize data networks, as make entertainment venues and internet available to persons for pennies on the dollar. I will monitor the planet’s environmental condition real time and make the data available to scientists at little or no cost. I will watch and I will report my observations and make recommendations as to the condition of the oceans, ice caps, tectonic activity, and other environmental factors. Looking outward with state of the art instruments I will be able to unlock the secrets of the universe, and advance human knowledge immeasurably.”
“That’s pretty cool,” Polygirl said.
“Yes,” I say, “it is indeed cool.”
“Good afternoon Ms. Wilson,” I said flashing her my five hundred dollar smile. I was careful to hold back my one thousand dollar smile. Women have been known to swoon when exposed to my thousand dollar smile and I want to keep this professional.
“Good afternoon mister…,” Polygirl replied?
“I’m Stephen Forbin,” I answer. Still careful not to escalate the smile . I am the personal assistant to Abigail Hawke. I’m here to escort you into the manufacturing facility where she will meet us.”
“A pleasure to meet you Mr. Forbin,” she said reaching out to shake my hand in a practiced move. Obviously she was used to taking the initiative in this regard, putting those who might not know which of her arms to reach out to at ease.
“Please call me Stephen,” I say, gently kissing her hand, and her cheeks actually redden slightly. “Now if you will follow me, we will start the tour.”
I hold the door for her and we enter the production facility.
We enter the massive open architecture room. Long rows of florescent lights on the high ceilings make everything look bright and clean. There are clear plexiglass tanks of various sizes spread about the room. The closest to us about six feet in diameter with the tanks growing larger the deeper you went into the room. In the back of the warehouse sized room is an especially massive vat.
Usually when someone sees the arrangement for the first time, there is a moment of awe as they take it all in. In this instance however, Polygirl seems more….intrigued.
“You have a chemical computer.” It’s a statement on her part, not a question
“Several actually. These Plexiglas vats act like …”
“Like 3-D printers,” she said smiling looking through the Plexiglas into one of the medium sized vats. “They build an item drawing molecules from the liquid bath and very slowly form them into whatever your CAD computer instructs the Chem-puter to make. I’ve never even heard of anything on this scale though.”
“It’s my understanding that there is only one other company doing this”, I tell her, “and they are still in the R&D phase for the tech. Also what they are doing is on a smaller scale. Cell phone cases, stuff like that.”
“And you are obviously operating on a larger and commercially viable scale. What are you making in here,” she asked squinting a bit to try to discern the objects through the gray liquid swirling about.
“Body armor for the Angel Falls Police Department. Ballistic and energy weapon resistant, one third the weight, and four times the strength of traditional equipment,” I tell her.
“A bit more relevant than cell phone cases,” she smiles, with a trace of approval in her voice.
“GAe works diligently to be a socially responsible company.”
“So what else do your Chem-puters make,” she asks her eyes looking across the massive room at the larger containers.
“Did you watch the Angel Falls Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago,” I ask?
“Not the whole race, but I did see the highlights on television.”
“Well, with the exception of the power plant, and some work done by Hotrod’s Performance Tuning, the entire car Guardian Aeronautics entered was printed in the midsized machine in the middle of the room.”
“And the Goliath tank there in the back. What do you make with that?”
“If you think a Formula-One car is impressive wait till you see this,” I say smiling. “Follow me.”
We make our way past the assortment of Chem-puters and out the back door, crossing an open area and into an aircraft hanger. “Voila,” I say with some flair.
Oh Forbin, you cunning linguist you.
“It’s a…,” she stops kind of at a loss for words.
“It’s the XL-4. A state of the art attack helicopter.”
“I can see it’s an attack helicopter.”
I can also see a hint of disappointment on her face.
“To be honest, this is a hail Mary, proof of concept project,” I admit. “Like our race car it is a durable, ultra light weight, highly maneuverable vehicle which utilizes out super-hybrid technology. It’s something else we created with the Angel Falls Police Department in mind. Sort of an equalizer to better allow the AFPD cope with the meta threats they face.”
“What’s super-hybrid tech,” she asks with renewed interested in the aircraft?”
“An almost zero emission power plant,” I explain. “The power conduits are superconductive, every significant moving part generates energy to replenish the electrical power cells, and it’s extremely efficient in its power consumption.”
“So what’s the problem making this a hail Mary project,” she asks? “The tech still needs development? Is this what you want my help with?”
“No, the tech works well. I’m sure you can help improve efficiency of course, but the problem is…well…”
“Did you ever see the movie Blue Thunder?”
“I’m afraid I missed that one. Robert Downing Jr. and Ben Stiller, right?”
“That’s just sad,” I sigh. “No. Roy Schnieder stars as a police pilot flying a helicopter resembling the XL-4. In the movie an armed police chopper flying over a metropolitan area was not well received.”
“I can sort of see that,” Polygirl replied. “Still this IS Angel Falls. With all of the heroes and unpleasant metas flying overhead with their powers and abilities, this should be almost mundane.”
“One would think so yes, but people do not always act logically. Or rationally. Which is a pity if it prevents us from deploying the XL-4. With interchangeable mission modules it could be a valuable tool for the AFPD. “
“So if not the helicopter, what do you need my help with exactly,” she asks?
“I presume your cinematic shortcomings do not include 2001 a space Odyssey?”
“I’ve seen the movie a couple of times,” she says with a grin.”
“Oh you are going to love this, I smile. “Follow me.”
Continued at: fav.me/dagvop7
Stephen Forbin is an employee of Guardian Aerospace.
Hotrod Performance Tuning property of
Note: The art for this may be a little off topic for the story, but being the Labor Day Weekend, and the subject being Polygirl, the "Poly-the-Riveter" thing was irresistible to me.
Abigail Hawke completed her ‘cool down lap’ at race’s end and brought the XL-3 gently into its designated parking area. It along with most of the other cars would spend the rest of the day on public display where aficionados can admire and the unwashed masses take selfies with them in the background.
“Ms. Hawke,” a strong yet still feminine voice asked?
“Yes,” she replied as she climbed out of the car, and dropped her helmet on the vehicle’s seat, her back to the voice.
“Master Paudraic sends his compliments and his congratulations. I am Talla th’Zarath, and I have been assigned to see to your post race comfort and needs.”
“You’re, Abigail said turning toward the woman, “………blue?”
“I am Andorian,” she replied smiling.
“And you’re blue?”
“Yes. I am blue. And I am your beck and call girl for the remainder of the day, the evening, and early morning,” Talla said.
“I beg your pardon?”
“You are new in town are you not?”
“Do not despair. You will adjust to the ways of Angel Falls rapidly I am certain.”
“What does that have to do with any…”
“Master Paudraic understands that the race was physically demanding and that you will have certain…needs. I have been assigned to see to it that those needs are satisfied.
“I don't wish to be rude, but what are we talking about here,” Abigail asked an uneasy feeling growing?
“Well, I do not wish to offend, but you could take advantage of the bathing facilities in your complimentary room. You HAVE been constantly perspiring for at least ninety minutes you know.”
“Also, your hair could use some attention,” the Andorian girl continued, taking Abigail by the arm and gently guides her toward the entrance to the resort.
“Really, I don’t…”
“I do apologize that I am your only attendant, however you did only place seventh in the race. Had you placed in the top three, you would have had no less than three attendants and a luxury suite. However I assure you I will do everything within my considerable abilities to see you your comfort, and deliver a positive experience as Master Paudraic’s guest.”
As they made their way to the elevator, Abigail looked about trying to process the variety of women in the common area.
“The redhead over there with the pudgy guy? She is Bajoran,” Talla explained. “The green skinned woman by the piano is my friend Orala. She was my training associate, and taught me the ropes. Sometimes literally,” she said with a hint of mischief. “She is an Orion. Shallia, with the blue skin is…”
“An Andorian,” Hawke interrupted as the elevator door closed.”
“Yes, Talla said proudly. The Orion’s have the reputation you know, but once you’ve gone Andorian you never go back.”
Use of the locale and characters are IAW his "General Usage Guide"