Thursday, 27 April 2017

Omurice at Yoshi's

[Media prompt] Silicon Valley security robot beat up in parking lot, police say.
Omurice at Yoshi's

I was having breakfast at Yoshi’s, a hole in the wall over on Stewart that served the best omurice in the Valley, when a dispatch-bot reported a fight in progress at a shopping mall about a mile-and-a-half away. A blurred image flickered in to view, but my interface was hazy. The boys in the lab kept telling me they would fix it, but there never seemed to be enough time for old timers with first-gen flesh wiring.

I wolfed down what remained of Yoshi’s omurice, and slurped on a cup of coffee until the burn in my throat told me to lay off. Yoshi stood with his back to me, cooking an omelette on the hot plate, his punch perm a holdover from his days in the syndicate. We had been on opposite sides for a decade, but he was going straight now. Or perhaps it was a concession to old age. It was probably time for me to do the same.

“I’m outta here,” I said, flicking my hand over the chip scanner. And once more for a tip.

Yoshi grunted. It was about as close as we ever got to conversation.

An RBT was hovering at the door when I stepped outside. It flew in a long arc to line up with the gap at the fifty-first floor of the Sato building, popping out the other side at the rooftop parking lot of the S-7 shopping tower. There was lightning on the horizon, over the San Francisco skyline, and I thought of Delores and wondered if she was waiting up for me.

The grey cement rooftop looked cold, a handful of abandoned vehicles shunted to the edges forming a barrier from the wind. In the centre was the Arena, a cage really, where men duked it out with robots. The Valley had banned fights between humans and androids years ago, after the mayor’s sons was handed his head on a platter, but we mostly turned a blind eye. If idiots want to test themselves against synths with faster reflexes, no threshold for pain, and machine-learned grudges against blood sacks, then that’s their business. But someone had called it in, and at least one Valley warrior was going to spend the rest of the night staring at the fight tank pink walls of a holding cell.

The RBT banked as I sounded a warning and a couple of live rounds. By the time I stepped out into the icy wind, there was just a drunken kid facing off against a two-hundred pound meter-bot. He is face was bloodied, and his fists shredded, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed overnight.

“You’re losing against a meter-bot,” I said. “I’m tempted to let this go on until the fucking thing kills you.”

The kid hung his head in shame. At least he had the sense to know he was losing.

“But it’s your lucky day,” I said, firing a single M64 into the android’s CPU. It squealed and fell over on its side, rocking for a moment until it was still. All I could hear was the wind moaning across the rooftop.

“I got ticketed last week by one of those fuckers,” I said, holstering my side piece and hopping back into the RBT.

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