Friday, February 29, 2008

"Continuity Core," CTC, pt. 3, 400 words

A tinny little whirring noise drew the team’s attention down the right hall. Mudry flashed his light around, looking for the source.

A small, streamlined ceramic and metal discus shot up the hall at them, its wheels hidden under the skirt of its body so it looked like it skimmed less than a quarter inch off the floor. The drone crossed fifty feet in a few seconds, and Mudry brought his pistol up to track its movements.

“Cool down,” Rijn ordered. She stepped forward to meet the drone in its whirring approach, and swept her foot out at it. The drone angled sideways at the last moment, almost running into her other foot as it skidded under and beyond her.

A quick squeeze of the trigger, and with a loud crack Mudry’s pistol spat out a single round. Damaged but still operable, the drone knocked itself sideways into a wall. It sat there, bumping insistently against the plaster as it tried to turn against the solid surface. Mike crouched down beside the drone and picked it up.

“How’s it look,” Mudry asked.

Turning the drone over revealed that the shot had passed at an angle through the body and broken apart one of the two treads that made up the drone’s only means of locomotion. The other was still whirring along efficiently, but without its mate the drone wouldn’t go anywhere but in circles.

“Clean disable, no extra damage aside from cosmetic,” Mike answered, and extracted a few tools from his uniform pockets. He unceremoniously broke the other tread with a screwdriver jammed into its works, and then worked the drone’s body off its chassis.

The circuit sticks inside looked positively prehistoric, but there was no point in scaling down to microtronics when the thing already needed to be so huge for the waldo and tool package, necessary to the performance of its basic duties. Mike unwound the tap from his finger once again, then almost dropped the drone when it suddenly jabbed his hand with some kind of probe.

“Damn,” he muttered, shifting his grasp to the back of the drone, out of the waldo’s normal range of movement. A few drops of synthetic blood fell to the floor, turning black as it degraded in the open air. The blood welling directly from the wound began to degrade as well, turning into an ugly black scab in spare seconds.

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