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Authors: Martin Wilsey

Tags: #mystery science fiction, #intelligence hard scifi high tech combat robot science military ai

Oklahoma Salvage (5 page)

BOOK: Oklahoma Salvage
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Just then, Dave started as
he rounded
the
corner
and saw Wendy standing there. Alex
watched him exchange a few words of greeting with Wendy. And they
came to the door together.


Hello,
darlin’,”
Wendy said to Alex as she entered. “You didn’t tell me
you were
hiding David here in the back.”


He got here the same day
you were here last time. It was his truck you saw rolling in,” Alex
said.


Oh,” Wendy said
offhandedly. Then, “They loved the C-19 I brought them. Do you
still have the other two?” Wendy asked.


You saw me roll in?” Dave
asked in an odd tone, and then turned to Alex. “Where’s
Harv?”

It
was Wendy who answered
him. “He should be here any minute. He always
snags an Orange Crush at
quittin’
time,” she said with her back
to him, as a heavy metal bar came down hard from behind, crushing
her skull.

Alex screamed.


Wasn’t this good timing?
I can drop all three of you in the middle of the desert at the same
time.” Dave
leaped
over the counter and began
moving towards Alex. She was
back-pedaling
and fell
backward
over boxes
of
circuit
boards. Falling saved her. The bar
narrowly missed her head, hitting
hard on the old linoleum instead.
Dave’s
face was
twisted with an evil grimace.

She
screamed
again
and
crab walked
backward
as he slowly advanced toward her.


Fucking humans. One day
you will all be Golems,” he growled in another voice.

Still crab walking, Alex
ran out of
room
behind the counter as he slowly began to raise
the heavy bar again.

Harv crashed into Dave from the
doorway to the back office with a flying tackle before the bloody
bar began to descend. They shattered the glass display case that
once held pies but now was filled with radios. They rolled on the
floor and Dave came up on top strangling Harv.

Alex came over the counter and landed
directly on his back. She wrapped her right arm around his neck
pulling back with all her strength as she hammered her left fist
into the side of his face. His elbow swung around impossibly fast,
catching her in the body and sending her skidding across the glass
strewn floor on her back.

The metal bar was back in Dave’s
hands, preparing for the killing blow on Harv pinned below
him.

Then she remembered.

She thrust a hand into her pocket,
fumbled, and flipped the switch.

The bar was about to begin
its swing when it just slipped from Dave’s fingers, falling behind
him to clang on the floor. His face became
unfocused,
and his
arms fell limp at his sides. He stared straight ahead.

Alex struggled to her feet
and as she did she could see the monitor. The MP-82 was spinning up
its engines. The Gull-Wings were moving to takeoff position. The
T-16 pulled up to the
rear
ramp on remote and slowly slid
sideways into the bay.

Harv walked in from the back and took
in the scene. “You were right, Hunter. He’s a Golem.
Dammit.”


Wendy’s dead, Papa.
What’s happening?” Alex yelled.


Siva isn’t the name of
the shuttle. It’s an AI.”


A Golem?” she asked
horrified, know what an abomination it was.


A Golem is a
not-
dead
person, under total control by an AI. Illegal,
even here.” Hunter continued, “They discovered that a drowning
victim could
be
injected
with persistent medical nanites,
the kind that are AI directed in real time. Most of the brain
would
be
removed,
and the body still live. For
organ donation initially. Later… more. With enough of these
nanites, the AI could control the body.”

Harv was getting to his feet and
looked at Dave, who was beginning to drool.


There is an AI in the
shuttle. A spoiled AI. A bad one. Trying to get off-
world
and we helped it.” Harv sounded horrified. “And it has 600
kilos of
weapons-grade
plutonium.” Harv held his
face in his hands.


The hell it is.” Alex
stormed past the kneeling Golem and vaulted over the counter and
opened a small drawer in her tool box, extracting a garage door
remote.


Fuck you, Siva.” She
pressed the
button,
and there was an
explosion
inside
the MP-82. It showed through the
cockpit windows. It dropped back down to the
tarmac,
and the
engines began spinning down.


What did you do?” Harv
asked
incredulously
.


You know the UPS I
repaired? I made
a
special
modification. It was Hunter’s
idea. In
case
he owed money.”

***

The bell rang
over
the door as the man entered wiping the summer sweat off his
brow. It was extra hot today.


Hey, Hunter. Is Alex back
yet?” he asked as he took off his ball cap.


Hey, Bill. Nope, she’s at
an auction at Shackleton’s Base, on Luna, but Harv’s around
somewhere. Need him?” Dave “Hunter” Keener was Oklahoma Salvage’s
newest employee.


Nah, you can probably
help. I’m looking for a CO2 scrubber for an old PT-137 that I’m
restoring. Any chance you got one hereabouts with a decent number
of hours left on it?”


I do believe I know where
to find just the thing.” Dave grabbed three orange sodas and came
out from behind the counter. Hunter really understood why they
loved them so much. “Let’s go see Harv while we’re out. He’d love
to say hey.”

On the way out Hunter
grabbed his worn cowboy hat from
it’s
hook.

Hunter always remembered his
hat.

BOOK: Oklahoma Salvage
9.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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