April 12, 2019

Spooks

A very short story.


I don't even know how I got there. One moment I was living my life with family and friends, and the next I was under the thumb of an authoritarian regime.

I said something that must have pissed someone off. It's all still foggy but I know I spoke my mind and was met with strange looks. I decided to keep moving, but saw strange men following me. One man with two briefcases kept "accidentally" bumping in to me, always making sure to press one of the cases to my body. I couldn't tell if it was a recording device and he clumsily got too close, some kind of electromagnetic sensor to see if I was transmitting, or some kind of bioweapon meant to infect me through the skin. I got away from him real quick, but it was clear that anyone around me could be a spook.

I moved away from the crowds, up in to a residential area. I didn't know where I was going, but I knew I was being tailed and had to get away.

Then someone came up to me that seemed different. Quietly he told me I wasn't safe. I knew it could be a trick but who else could I trust? I was still being tailed, with the spook lingering maybe 50 feet behind us wherever we went.

We walked quickly to a residential area, then rounded a corner before my new friend climbed up a hole in the roof between two structures. I quickly followed, hoping our tail wouldn't see my legs disappearing into the hiding spot. Once on the roof, we entered a window and were greeted by folks my helper seemed to know. Welcoming faces were a huge relief.

I still didn't quite understand what was going on, but it was clear I couldn't stay there. The spooks would be searching building soon, and nothing good would come to this family if I was found. We agreed to meet up later some distance from their home. It was all a daze for me so I'm not sure it was wise, but I left my pack with them as I walked out the side exit. Honestly it felt like a mistake once I'd left, but I was happy that I had nothing incriminating on me if I did get stopped. I don't know what the hell they're after but everything I've got is in that pack, and I'm sure they'd rob it all if I was picked up.

I made good distance quickly. I didn't have time to turn around and make sure no one was watching, but hopped a chain link fence as soon as I got to it and then ducked through a parking garage. It seemed like no one was on my trail.

Still nervous but a little relaxed, I walked towards some industrial buildings, always making sure to head generally away while making as many turns as I could.

The roads were all dirt, and over another chain link fence I could see a dark city in the distance. Airships larger than anything I'd seen loomed over the buildings, and I could see that they were busy doing something. Suddenly a low flying drone came at my feet so fast I had to jump over it to avoid getting hit! Then another came - a different model - ignoring me it seems but heading straight through me as if I wasn't there. I had to jump again, and got off that road quick. It seemed like the drones were using that as some kind of thoroughfare.

I didn't like being out in the open with all these robots around. It looked like I'd stumbled in to an area that has been dominated by the machines.

I ducked in to a nearby building. An industrial building with big open bays. The moment I was inside, I knew I was in the wrong place. I looked around and saw a thousand robotic machines all tending to parts on an assembly line. A drone factory. And as soon as I turned to my left, I saw a new drone flying off the line and headed straight towards me. I jumped outside and pressed my back against the wall, hoping the bot would fly out of the building and ignore me like the others.

But no. It had seen me, and came around the wall a split second after I had. I covered my face so it couldn't get a successful scan. It hovered closer and closer till the blades were almost touching my forehead. There wasn't much I could do. If this drone ID's me and alerted the spooks or more drones or anyone, I'd be overwhelmed. Then somehow its rotors stopped. It hung in the air in front of me as if gravity has been shut off. Maybe it sensed that its blades would injure me, but how did it stay aloft? I don't know, but that was my moment. I lunged up and grabbed its chassis, then swung the blades at the ground. Then I grabbed at the battery latch and tore the power pack out. Two blades remained intact but with another swing they were dashed. I didn't know if it had a spare power pack and didn't want to take any chances.

I got the hell away from that factory and ducked in to a building across the road, quietly shutting the door behind me. This building too was full of machines, but none that would harm me. It looked like storage for an old manual machine shop. You know, the kind of machines that humans operate? The machines were partially covered with tarps and collecting dust. I was terrified that something was about to come through the door, but all seemed quiet. The big machinery offered plenty of room for me to hide. Even if a sweep team would find me, I felt better knowing a single individual might miss me. And anyway, nothing seemed to be coming after me yet.

I had the drone still under my arm, so I found a quiet spot to take a look at it. It was still warm from manufacturing, and I'm hoping it didn't think to alert the network before I'd removed the battery. Some of the new drones fail right away, so perhaps the system wouldn't notice.

I took off the cover on its underbelly. There were good parts on the inside. Nav system, motor controllers, radio transcievers. No anti-gravity drive... did I imagine that? How did it stop mid air? Maybe it hadn't?

I don't really know, but I'm glad I've got the parts. They'll come in handy. For now though, I've got to catch my breath and figure out how to meet back up with my new friend. Maybe he'll have some answers.