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Authors: Sam Kepfield

Droids Don't Cry

BOOK: Droids Don't Cry
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Title Page

Droids Don’t Cry

Sam Kepfield

...

 

An imprint of
Musa Publishing

Copyright Information

Droids Don’t Cry, Copyright © Sam Kepfield, 2012

All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.

...

This e-Book is a work of fiction. While references may be made to actual places or events, the names, characters, incidents, and locations within are from the author’s imagination and are not a resemblance to actual living or dead persons, businesses, or events. Any similarity is coincidental.

...

Musa Publishing
633 Edgewood Ave
Lancaster, OH 43130

www.musapublishing.com

...

Published by Musa Publishing, July 2012
...

This e-Book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines and/or imprisonment. No part of this ebook can be reproduced or sold by any person or business without the express permission of the publisher.

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ISBN: 978-1-61937-315-0

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Editor: Alisa Carter

Cover Design: David Efaw

Interior Book Design: Coreen Montagna

Content Warning

This e-Book contains adult language and scenes. This story is meant only for adults as defined by the laws of the country where you made your purchase. Store your e-Books carefully where they cannot be accessed by younger readers.

Droids Don’t Cry

T
HEY
T
RACED
H
ER
J
ACKING
and sent out a recovery squad. The gridware had a warning trigger, letting her do a quick disconnect. It left her head spinning for a critical few seconds, seconds that might have gotten her fried by the black ninja-suits, but she was far away in an office complex on the edge of town and it took them all of five minutes to speed out there, sirens blaring and lights strobing, to find a broken glass door with small organic traces on the sharp edges and a smashed CPU and monitor.

By then lisa was well away from the office park—a series of buildings like golden-glass ice-cube trays rising above carefully landscaped mounds and gardens—over the wall and through the brush outside, with a half-mile of decaying housing between her and the office. She stopped in an alley, the misting rain dampening her hair and soaking her clothes, and she hid in the fog beside a Dumpster that smelled of rot and waste.

She heard the whine of a Raptor III turbojet above, dopplering from right to left, fading and then looping back. Arc lights lanced through the fog, swiveling and probing, looking for her. In the distance, she heard the
whoop! whoop!
of sirens draw closer.

The dim turned to white glare, then dim, then back to glare as the Raptor’s spotlight centered on her. Her eyes irised shut against the blinding white. As she ducked away from the Dumpster, she heard a loud hiss and crackle as the electric dart hit metal. Gravel and brick chips bit into her palms and knees as she fell and then scrambled to her feet just ahead of another bolt that tore a chunk from the brick wall. She sprinted to the head of the alley, eyeing the Raptor above and turning her head to the dark, empty street ahead.

She ran down the cracked sidewalks, weaving as she went, covering a block in ten seconds, then another. Her boot slammed against an upraised lip of concrete, sending her tumbling head over heels, landing against a brick storefront. Another wire-guided dart lanced out, hitting the wall above her shoulder as she twisted out of the way, rolling and leaping up and through the plate-glass window as laser beams sliced through the sidewalk and metal facing.

Inside, lisa wove around the pitch dark filled with the detritus of tipped shelves and displays, racing to the back door, heaving against it and breaking the rusted chain looped through the handle, out into the alleyway again, just as a black police cruiser skidded to a stop. Two figures emerged from the wedge-shaped car. Downloaded instinct kicked in. She ignored the command to stop and rushed the nearest one instead. A shot went wild before she slammed into the cop and bulldozed him against the car, with a rush of breath out of his lungs and a snapping like wet sticks in a bag. Her left hand went to his right, closed around the .41 automag, and yanked it free. Pivoting, she sent an elbow to the cop’s face, knocking him out. She aimed the magnum at the Raptor and squeezed off four shots. All four struck home. The Raptor wobbled and rapidly fell from view behind the skyline. A muffled
crump,
a flash of light, and a mushroom cloud of smoke marked the demise of ten million dollars’ worth of lightweight metal, plastic, and circuitry.

After firing the last shot, lisa whirled around, assumed a perfect Weaver stance, and leveled the automag at the remaining cop, who had his weapon pointed at her. He was young, dark-haired, tall and handsome, and in another life…He was sweating, his hands trembling slightly as he thumbed the safety off. The hood of the cruiser separated them.

“Drop it, skinjob,” he growled. “You’re coming with me.”

“Or what?” she challenged, voice dripping contempt. “You’ll shoot? I can duck that, you know. You might wing me. And then I’ll
have
to kill you.”

“Backup’s gonna be here in thirty seconds, less. Drop it. Now.” He was going to wait out the clock.

She sighed. “You’ve forced my hand. I’m sorry.” She dove to the ground, rolled once, twice, aimed and fired. The slug went into the cop’s thigh, and he twisted in agony and went down on his left side. The gun came up, gleaming in the blue-and-red flashers atop the cruiser. She fired again, overriding all programming, and sent the slug crashing into the cop’s forehead. The body twitched several times and then went slack, the gun falling to the pavement.

She went to the cruiser, shoved the first cop to the side, slid behind the wheel, and roared off down the alley. At the entrance, she slammed on the brakes to avoid another cruiser rushing by. With a squeal of tires, the cruiser fishtailed and headed in the opposite direction. She shut down the emergency lights and sped down the pavement, swerving around larger potholes. No street lights, but no traffic lights, either. It was five miles out of the dead zone. The cruiser shot through the chain-link gate, into the living world and one more day.

 

“I’m just past the 92 turn-off on US 83,” Ray Platt said into the headset, keeping his voice low. “Nothing so far. At all.”

“Last report was she was headed west, toward the dead zones.” The voice of his supervisor crackled over the earbud; reception out there was lousy.

“Naturally,” Platt drawled. Everyone kept whispering about the droid sanctuaries, out west in the dead zones, but no one ever got a location.

“Don’t be a smartass, Platt,” his supervisor shot back, irritated. “Just find the damned thing. It nailed Lee.”
Who deserved it
, Platt thought, snorting. Lee was a hotheaded prick given to quick-drawing and rapidly escalating nonviolent situations into full-blown crises, like that standoff last month. Five dead, ten wounded, and the best shot at taking a droid gone in a flash-bang. Tried to be a hero but finally wound up as meat on a slab with a medal and a widow to show for it.

The western Nebraska countryside scrolled past as he piloted the unmarked cruiser down the northbound lane of US 83. It was a federal highway, so it was still in fair condition, meaning no washed-out bridges, no meter-deep potholes, no shoulders crumbling like cheap pie crust. Some of the state highways had grass growing in the untarred cracks and were disintegrating from sheer disuse.

And who, he asked, looking at the tallgrass-covered hills in the cold morning sun, was out here to use the roads? A few farmers, sure—most of the ranchers had resorted to horseback for cattle drives—but a fair percentage of the towns out here were ghost towns. Just over ten years since The Plague fizzled, the world was still digging out. One-third mortality, a couple billion dead worldwide, a hundred-fifty million plus here; the last two census numbers were iffy. Back east, it meant you could finally get an apartment in New York City or Tokyo without having it willed to you. Out here, it meant entire counties populated only by jackrabbits and coyotes.

He spotted a farmhouse off on a side road, a mile distant.
Maybe
, he thought.
Might as well give it a look-see
. He doubted that a patrol cruiser could have made it this far without refueling. He made a note to call back and have them check fill-and-dash incidents between here and Omaha. Platt slowed and turned off onto the dirt road. He checked his GPS transmitter and the recorder, and unracked the laser rifle from the dash.

The house, he saw as he pulled into the drive and passed the small shelterbelt, had been deserted long before The Plague hit. The paint had peeled off, the windows were all broken out, the barn roof sagged, and a shed beside the barn had tilted and collapsed. The farm machinery—a tractor, a hay cart, and two pickup trucks—were all of a late-twentieth-century vintage and were coated in rust. He stopped the cruiser in front of the house, grabbed the rifle, and stepped out.

The barn door was slightly askew, so he decided to try the barn first. Rifle at the ready, just like the Marines taught him, he approached warily. He put one hand on the rusty door handle, pushed it to the side, and beheld a battered black State Patrol cruiser. The rear window was shot out, taillights broken, emergency lights shattered. The tag was current.

His heart began thudding in his chest under the black, unmarked fatigues. He moved around the side to the passenger door. The window was down. Platt brought the laser up and thumbed off the safety.

BOOK: Droids Don't Cry
6.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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