Sunday, May 24, 2015

WP - 008 - Gadget

Every day, I go to the "new" page of (I apologize in advance if you were previously unaware of Reddit) where I select the latest prompt - whatever it is - and write it out.  I've decided to post those here.  Hope you enjoy it.  Today's Story is:


<blockquote>[EU] After years of trusting his cybernetic additions, he feels them betraying him, sees the blood on his hands, and can only think, "Stop stop gadget..."</blockquote>

It can be hard to look at yourself with honest eyes - to admit your faults.  It tears you up inside - owning up to your failures.  I won't lie to you and try to convince you that I didn't know what a screw-up I was back then.  I won't tell you I didn't love the praise, though.  And now that Penny's dead.

I switched off my data reception and disabled the WiFi upgrade.  This old empty warehouse is quiet.  Secluded.  If Brain was still around, he'd probably come over here and put his head in my lap.  I could pet him...

...If the servo-actuator in the Gadgetarms weren't malfunctioning.  He probably would've been disgusted with all this anyway.  The left arm is still twitching.

I can feel the water from that broken pipe seeping through the seat of my trousers.  Claw hasn't moved in - 32 minutes and 14 seconds - according to the Gadgetbrain Onboard Chronometer.  All those times he tried to kill me.  All the times he tried to hurt me.  To hurt Penny.

I guess the servos in the left hand are still working after all.  I hear the broken bones in his neck grind against each other as the Gadgetarm twitches.  Claw lies 7.82 feet away from me.  The Gadgetarm won't contract back into its socket.  The one on the right won't do anything.  Not with the bullet lodged in the shoulder actuator.

Wowsers.  I really fucked this one up, Chief.

The Gadgetlegs aren't much use, either.  My left foot is vibrating, and the right one seems to have been disconnected from its coupling.  I think it fell off - held in place by the pants leg.  There's a terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.  I think there's a lot of blood mixed in with the oil and coolant.

"I think I'm going to die here, Penny."  The voice is choked, weak.  It doesn't sound like me.  How much of John Brown is in that statement, and how much of the Machine?  The two never were much different until today.

John Brown came here to arrest Dr. Claw.  John Brown was furious - but mostly with himself.  All these years combating M.A.D. and Claw's ridiculous schemes.  How could John Brown have done things differently?  What if I'd stopped listening to the hype and the press and the accolades from the Department, and really paid attention? Could I have stopped this?

I know I could have.  John Brown could have.  I have the most advanced Robotics and cybernetic systems available - some of them not even - technically - legal, without the Patriot Act and the Quimby Initiative.

I should have been a better role model -

I should've been a better father.  Penny would still be alive, if I'd come here and done this sooner.  Day One.  Right out the door.  Ditch the cuffs, break out the .45.

But I didn't come here to kill anyone.  Did I?

No.  I can't believe that.  John Brown came here to arrest Claw.  It was the Machine that did all this.  Claw tried his worst to stop it.  Agent after Agent fell beneath the might of Gadget.  I couldn't even count the dead.  After the first few years, they all sort of look exactly the same, don't they?  How could I differentiate between them while I was snapping their spines and crushing their skulls?

How could I let the Machine do this?

They're all dead now.  My niece is not coming back to me, and none of the amazing things she did - none of the great and heroic deeds I took the credit for will be remembered.

They'll all be swept under the rug and replaced with "psychotic cyborg slaughters dozens."  If the tear ducts weren't automatic, I think I would be weeping now.  It's cold.

I'm definitely dying now.  Back-up systems have kicked in.  I no longer have access to the communication systems.  WiFi boots up, data.  I had no idea that subroutine existed.  Hidden.  I mean...

Of course it does.  Whatever happens to John Brown, the technology's good.  I can hear the locator beacon.  They'll be coming for the tech.  Maybe they can put it into a competent officer this time.  Equip someone more deserving.  I wish there was some way I could warn them.  Tell them what to look out for...

There's a rudimentary processor in the back of the Gadgetbrain.  It records everything - keeps Inspector Gadget honest, I guess.  Or it's supposed to.  If I could partition...


<hr />
<hr />

<i>"Listen to me.  This is the most important thing you have to know about all these changes they've made to your body.

"None of it matters.  The enhanced vision and hearing, the waldo arms, the telescoping appendages, or the top-secret Gadgetphone.  It's a bunch of props.  Tools.

"Whoever you are... you're not a superhero.  You're not even a supercop.  Not because of the gadgets, anyway.  The only way you can be a good cop is to be a good cop.  Pay attention to the things around you.  Pay attention to the people.  Protect and Serve.  Remember that first.

"Be mindful.  Listen to your family and friends.  Don't let all this bullshit go to your head.  Truth be told, you wouldn't have been a very good cop in the first place - they won't be putting all this tech into a healthy body, so you must've done something to screw it all up.  I can't see how you could be here, if you hadn't.

"But maybe that's my ego getting in the way, because I was such a screw up.

"Well, don't let that be your defining trait.  Don't fuck it up, like I did.  Stop.  Learn how to control the Machine.  Don't let the Gadgetbrain control you.  Ask for help when you need it.  Acting like you've got everything under control, when you haven't, is just going to get someone killed.

"And speaking of that.  Cherish your family.  Love the ones who love you.  And keep them away from this.  You are a cop.  Not some silly crime-fighter on a mad-cap adventure.  You don't need sidekicks.  Don't be stupid.

"I was going to tell you about...

"about some of the unex... unexpected...  un... side effects.  No clock... no... time, I guess.

"It's over.  I'm dying Penny.  I'm sor... I'm.... I'm..., </i>


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She shook her head.  The compensaters in her artificial tear ducts were failing.  Her eyes were wet.  "It's Detective," she said.  "Detective Gadget.  And I'm fine.  I found an old program hiding in the crime scene protocols of the Gadgetbrain OS."  She wiped her eyes.

He eyed her nervously, "anything we need to report?"  All the street cops were nervous around her.  It was to be expected.  She'd only been on the street for a few months; and they made her a detective right off the bat, even though she was still a recruit when... when *it* happened.

"It's nothing.  I deleted it.  I'll debrief Chief Quimby, when we're finished here.  Show me what we've got."  She moved the file to her personal SD card and encrypted it.

The officer started across the sidewalk and into the alley and the fresh crime scene.  Detective Gadget looked around, the Gadgetbrain absently recording her surroundings, in case something useful escaped her notice, and could be identified later.  She turned her attention southwest.  14.8 miles in that direction was the ruin of the old M.A.D. Warehouse.

"Goodbye, Uncle Gadget," she whispered somberly, and turned to follow the officer into the alley.

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