Di and her cyborg cat Boba Fetisha go up against Rattigans and a manic robot.
|The world was a flat, ugly place. Humongous piles of trash, as far as the eye could see, scattered about the planet, making an even flat surface that continually grew higher as more trash was dumped on the planet. People lived here, among other beings, and made their homes amongst the refuse. Roads intertwined amongst the garbage, leading to very small towns that were cobbled together with scraps. Outside the towns, or outposts, were untold miles of trash in every direction, a cascade of garbage where people scavenged, barely eking out a living. What was the planet's name? What had it been before? Whatever beautiful place it had been, that place no longer existed.|
It was now called Trash World, and the people here were trapped. Permanently. Overhead just outside the planet's atmosphere, stationary spacecraft saw that none other than the trash ships themselves flew in and out. Red laser beams had cut through many a hopeful pioneer's ship, obliterating them into a million shards of… well… trash.
In the unmarked, refuse filled wilderness, a young woman carefully searched amongst the broken, discarded junk. Looking for something. An old robot was before her, and she tinkered with it, trying to get it to work. She preferred solitude to company, unless she had a 'friend' willing to buy her a drink.
She was dressed in rags, mostly. Fingerless leather gauntlets stopped just short of her elbows, knee high leather boots, some sort of fishnet stockings, and a ridiculously short maroon skirt made of suede. A black vest with Kevlar fabric adorned her muscular torso, with a maroon tank top hidden underneath. An old aviators cap topped off her short, extremely curly blonde hair. She was a scavenger, a purveyor of robot parts to be exact. Tech was her specialty, though she considered herself an expert taster of fine alcohol.
The young twentysomething woman paused in her analysis, head bowed, curls falling into her eyes. She knew she was surrounded, even before they spoke. Her senses were attuned to living out here as much as theirs.
"Ok girlie, give us all your valuables. Now."
Di, full first name Diana, smirked back at the group surrounding her. Four thugs had managed to straggle around her while she was busy dissecting this robot. She looked carefully around her, her bright curly blonde hair was in stark contrast to her bleak surroundings. She brushed the short curls out of her eyes, "Really? All my valuables? I'm just a scavenger you know."
"Don't matter what you are, you hand it over and we might let you live," a greasy faced deepwell sneered. All of them were deepwells, armed with laser pistols and dangerous.
Di shook her hair out of her eyes again, contemplating. Finally she looked up at who seemed to be the leader, "What do you want?"
"We want the robot you're working on, plus whatever is in your bag. Remain kneeling and hands behind your head," the deepwell leader approached.
Di complied, noting that she could get her body full of holes from those big bad laser guns. She smirked at the thought of drinking as much beer as she wanted, and it leaking like a sieve out of her body. One of them approached, and she heard a clink, handcuffs, probably? The man grabbed her left wrist, and Di pounced. She broke out of the grip with an elegant twist, spinning around and sweeping a leg out from under the guy before anyone else even knew what was happening. She held a shard of metal to the guy's throat, legs wrapped around his waist while they both lay there in the dirt.
The three remaining men aimed their pistols, at both of them, "Guess it's one less guy we have to split the haul with."
Di's captive shook his head slightly, "Guys after all we've been through?"
They all laughed, but Di was prepared, "Now, Boba!"
The men looked around, just as a creature pounced on one the men off an old car, circa 2047, clawing at his neck. He screamed, dropping his pistol, "Shoot it! Shoot it!"
The other two both fired simultaneously, one of them blowing a hole in the car. Apparently there was a little bit of volatile fuel left, because it exploded. Di ducked under the carcass of the robot as a small shock rippled outward. Boba better be ok, she thought.
She looked up a few seconds later, to see two of the deepwells lying a dozen feet away, clutching broken limbs. The third was nowhere to be seen.
"Boba!" Di called, and the creature appeared, running towards her. It was about the size of a house cat, hell, it technically was a house cat. Well, robo cat. One of the old robotic feline models, it was silver with a patched eye, faint burnt marks on its metal. A small jet pack that most times did not work was strapped to its back. Boba, who she surnamed Fetisha, purred at her, rubbing his back along her legs. Di looked at the unconscious deepwell in her arms, she could slit his throat, but she just dropped him carelessly to the ground, "Well that's that. Disaster averted once again, Boba." Ok so she talks to a robot that only takes commands, so what?
Di adjusted her aviator cap, swiping her messy curls out of her eyes. Where to now? Did it matter? Of course it did, there was a rumor of another robot carcass due south. Maybe she could get the parts she needed there. Boba Fetisha purred in robot fashion alongside her, providing her the necessary company she craved. Just her and her robot pet. It was time to move. She was at her speed bike now, The DeLorean. The bike was one of the older models, and made more than a few scavengers envious whenever they saw her flying past them. Lucky for her it was a big boost reaching the latest dumps of trash from the flying garbage disposal ships first.
She gunned the motor, with Boba jumping on behind her, and she was off, expertly navigating the curvy roads amongst the trash.
It was a large clearing, the trash having been swept away. Obviously someone got here before her, but Di really wasn't worried. She'd dealt with deepwells before. The deepwells raided scavengers, lone or otherwise, and were more criminal than the general society on Trash World, which was saying something. But I can handle them
"Unless…. do you think it could be Rattigans? Huh, Boba?" Di reached down and patted Boba's head. The robotic cat purred incessantly. She glanced over the clearing, "Most definitely Rattigans. Stupid idiots. Can never learn to leave well enough alone." Rattigans were humanoid looking rats, about five and a half feet tall, wiry, strong. No one was sure if they were aliens, results of experimentation, or something else entirely. They scavenged scavengers, kidnapping people and keeping them as slaves in their underground city. It was said they blinded all humans they captured. Di just smirked, she'd handled them before, with the exception of a pack leader, they weren't too smart. Like now, she could tell they'd been here, messing with this robot.
"And what a robot it is! Damn but it's in good shape," Di approached it, it was taller than her, cylindrical in shape, with tracks for ground mobilization. A black slit at the top held a single red eye, which was unlit. Four unmoving tentacles, a pair on each side, fell uselessly to the ground. She inspected the cold, unyielding metal, looking for a clue to its origins, "Hmmm, not ClearSpace tech, something else. What's this?" she leaned down, seeing a small metal plate with text on it.
'LlamTech, where innovation meets creation! Thank you for purchasing the IGll, please read all instructions before attempting to use this product. IGll comes equipped with various non-lethal methods of restraining victims.
IGll model No. 25-284-1982
"Oooo, LlamTech. Their stuff is shit, at least what I've come across so far," she gave the IGll a kick. It remained unmoving. Di pulled out her blaster, wondering when the Rattigans would show up. She grinned in a cocky manner.
"There's someone here!" something screeched.
Di pulled the thumb back on her pistol.
Several heads peeped up from behind some nuclear refrigerators. The Rattigans. So it was a trap. Good thing she was prepared, "You three! Step out where I can see you," Di commanded.
Three of them stepped out slowly, hands in the air. A tad shorter than her, they had rat-like faces, albeit with a shorter, human-like nose. Furry bodies were covered in human style clothes, they were lean, five fingered hands with long nails, and feet that somehow fit into shoes. Two of them had tails, which were darting about.
"Where's the rest of your pack?" Di asked, Boba Fetisha was behind her, so her rear was covered.
The three Rattigans said nothing, just looked at each other.
"I'll ask one more time, where is the rest of you? There should be four more, that's typically what you scum bags travel in, right?" Di was getting impatient.
One of them reached into his pocket and Di fired, hitting him square in the chest. A smoking hole dead center, and the Rattigan fell over, tongue lolling out. The other two screamed, "You bitch!" one yelled.
Di aimed at his head, "You're next," she said calmly, her muscular forearm held her pistol rock solid.
"Ztop!" a female voice called out, and the remaining four Rattigans stepped out from behind a pile of old TVs. The apparent pack leader, she had an old buccaneer hat, eye patch, leather jacket, and two old fashioned looking pistols holstered. Long stringy black hair spilled out from under the hat, yellow teeth set in a grimace.
"Well, they didn't pick you for looks, that's for sure," Di laughed sardonically. Beside her, Boba growled.
"We surrender, my name is BlackBerry," her toothy grin widened, "What's yours?"
"Diana, most people call me Di," Di moved her gun to BlackBerry, while Boba Fetisha, bless his robotic little soul, sensed her movements, moved to keep an eye on the previous two behind her.
"Well, Di. We are going to get along very, very well in the coming months."
Di raised an eyebrow, her curls falling into her eyes, "Oh is that so? I have my doubts you'll be living much longer with that nasty sneer on your face."
BlackBerry snarled at that, then yelled, "Initiate Defcon protocol one, target, one human subject and one robotic house cat!"
A whirring sounded behind Di, and she glanced over her shoulder, brushing her hair out of her eyes yet again. The big cylindrical robot was vibrating, stirring to life. The red eye glowing in what Di estimated to be a menacing fashion. For a split second she wondered if it served any alcohol.
She glanced back at the Rattigans, but they were gone, "Damn it!"
The robot's tentacles suddenly sprang to life, and Di dove out of the way as they reached for her.
A deep, disembodied voice spoke, "DEFCON INITIATIVE. FURTHER USE OF EVASION WILL RESULT IN STRICTER RESTRAINTS. CEASE AND DESIST."
Di aimed her pistol at this crazy robot's head, firing dead center. The blast discharged, but the surface remained smooth and unbroken, "What the hell?" Di snarled, unbelievable.
The tentacles reached for her again, grasping for her ankles as the tread wheels moved in squeaky fashion, not yet accustomed to moving after so long. She fired again, knocking one back sloppily but not causing real damage. Di scrambled to her feet, brushing her hair out of her eyes. She backed up safely out of the tentacles reach, "Just back off, IGll! Don't make me pull out the big guns!"
"THREAT ANALYSIS. UNDERWAY. THREAT LEVEL: HUMANOID AGGRESSION AND INTIMIDATION TACTICS INDICATE THREAT LEVEL IS: O%"
"Not true!" Di shouted, aiming her pistol once again. Boba stood beside her, two tiny but powerful cannons poked out, one on each side.
"BINARY HOSTILE DETECTED. STEP ASIDE ASSHOLE."
Boba Fetisha snarled, and a pink gel shot out from an open tentacle, completely enveloping Boba on the spot, "Boba!" Di screamed, "What the hell is wrong with you!"
"CEASE AND DESIST."
"NO!" Di yelled back. She blasted a tentacle again, this time blowing one of the grasping hands off.
IGll stopped. If it were possible for a robot to eye someone warily, that was now, "THREAT ANALYSIS UNDERWAY."
Di aimed her pistol at the visor again, "How many shots until you crack? I bet-"
"CONCLUSION: AMPED UP SOLUTIONS." Suddenly cannons on both sides opened up, aiming right at Di.
"Oh shit," I'm dead, still, she aimed and fired, damaging one of the cannons.
Instead of an energy blast to disintegrate her, duct tape shot out, wrapping around her ankles. It must have been a twenty foot strand that firmly ensnared her ankles. She tottered, swinging her arms for balance and managing to get one more wild shot off before IGll's tentacles grabbed her.
A tentacle on each wrist, and the remaining undamaged one swept her off her feet.
This must be one of those bondage crazed robot, small potatoes. Right, right. Di rolled her eyes, which were grey. Her arms were wrenched behind her, and Di struggled the whole time, her muscles bunching up at the shoulders in her effort to break free.
"CEASE AND DESIST," IGll commanded, actually struggling with her for a moment. Then its mechanisms seemed to come back with full power. It held her still.
"You big tin can bastard!" Di shouted, wiggling uselessly. This may be a bit more then I'm accustomed to.
"PROVOCATIVE LANGUAGE RESULTS IN: LARGER, RESTRAINING GAG."
"I'll show you provocative language! You big fucking piece of mothe-uuuhhhhhggg!" A suction cup appeared out of the smooth surface, clamping over her mouth. A clear tube showed, and Di glanced at it worriedly.
"A SIZEABLE. SPONGE. WILL BE INSERTED INTO. PRISONER'S MOUTH. ZZZZTTT" the wondrously screwed up IGll appeared to malfunction on its protocol statements.
Me and my motormouth, Di rolled her eyes, not yet truly worried but irritated. She squirmed a bit.
She watched as a large yellow sponge slowly worked its way up the tube, then it disappeared into her mouth. The suction cup vanished, and the damaged metal arm came up with a tape dispenser, waving it in a mocking fashion in front of her stuffed mouth.
"Fffrmmrnnkkk!" Di cursed, trying to spit the sponge out. It was too big though, and it held her jaw open a bit.
"PRISONER WILL BE. GAGGED. VERY. VERY. WELL. HA. HA."
Is this a rogue AI? Di wondered.
The tape dispenser moved extremely quick, wrapping around her head and mouth tightly, sealing the mouthful of sponge. Di tried to keep track, she was already getting impatient in this stupid robot's clutches, but she started getting dizzy on the nineteenth pass. She closed her eyes, putting all her considerable strength into prying the metal tentacles apart.
I do work out, I mean, how strong can this thing be? She strained, and she felt them give a little. Yes! Almost there!
"RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. MANACLES OF PROPORTIONATE STRENGTH WILL BE APPLIED. HA."
It's gotta be operating under its own power, but why the hell did it take commands from BlackBerry? Di glanced around through her blonde curls, still straining, to see she had an audience of Rattigans. They stood around her in a half circle, solemnly watching the action. Di sneered at them.
Suddenly metal cuffs cinched around her wrists, excruciatingly tight. The metal bands dug into her leather gauntlets, almost cutting off her blood circulation. As the tentacles let her arms go, Di tested the cuffs. They were hinged, and very strong. Not rusty metal. Shit.
The Rattigans were around her now, looking over her restraints. Di was unceremoniously grabbed by the ankles and lifted upside down by IGll. The robot wrapped more tape, this time around her torso, pinning her arms to her sides and keeping her cuffed hands snugly against her rear.
This really sucks, Di grunted, in muffled tones.
BlackBerry appeared in her face, her mug even more ugly upside down, "What a hoot that was!"
"Ffffcckkk nnnmmmmppppgghhh!" Di growled, her eyes defiant in spite of her helpless state. She head butted BlackBerry in the nose. It wasn't hard enough, but BlackBerry appeared pissed.
She smacked Di across her duct taped cheek, "I am going to have fun with you, especially putting out those pretty eyes."
Di just glared at her, and BlackBerry pulled out a small leather muffler. Its smooth surface was pulled over Di's taped mouth, and buckled tightly behind her head. The muffler just went over her mouth, so the duct tape could still be vividly seen from below her nose to under her chin.
"Lower her to the ground, IGll."
"I…..I…..IGll MODEL NO 25-284-1982 ONLY REPORTS TO LLAMTECH TECHNICIANS. MY….SCANNERS INDICATE ABNORMALITIES IN THE BIOMETRIC SCAN. PLEASE STAND BY."
"Do it, Iggy, damn it!" Fetisha growled.
"NEGATIVE. COMRADE. PLEASE STAND BY."
With a hiss of compressed air, the hatch opened, and Di saw a small black object inside. She wiggled and yelled obscenities, but it looked like she was going to be shoved into the fucking compartment. Di was flipped right side up, and held midair while all the little bastard Rattigans tried to pull her free from Iggy's grasp.
"HA. HA…..COMRADE." The deep disembodied voice intoned, "MY FELLOW COMPATRIOTS WILL ASSIST YOU AS WELL."
Di heard the whir of more machinery, What the hell is going on here? She growled, "Gdddmmnn! Ffreemmmmmkkkkkkk!" Di thrashed about, once again using all her strength, but Iggy easily placed her inside, whacking Rattigans out of the way. Di noticed, with some confusion, it scooped up Boba as well, while the Rattigans yelled and began hitting Iggy. But there were more IGll model robots rolling into the clearing, coming straight for them, and the Rattigans turned their attention to those.
"I MUST COMMENCE TO PROTOCOL."
"NNNNMMMMMMMMMMM!" Di screamed, the first vestiges of panic gripping her as the hatch slammed shut, sealing her inside the dark, but spacious chamber. A hiss, and some sort of mist filled the chamber, and the woman scavenger known as Diana, passed out.
When she came to, there was sunlight shining against her closed eyelids. She was still trussed and gagged, and Boba lay beside her, unmoving. The tall form of Iggy loomed over her, silent, still, and Di gave a start as she realized she was not in the damn hatch. She tested the cuffs. Still as tight as before.
"Mmmpphhh!" Di grunted, wanting to see if 'Iggy' would move. It did not.
Here's my damn chance. She felt in her skirt pocket, for a small sliver of metal, or something to pick the locks.
"DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE," the robot spoke suddenly, making Di jump, "THE RESTRAINTS ARE ESCAPE PROOF. TESTED ON THE MOST RESILIENT DAMSEL."
"Frrmmnnk nnmm! Ghhmnns, wmnnn trmnn?"
"CEASE AND DESIST. FURTHER USE OF PROFANITY WILL RESULT IN LARGER GAGS. ALL WILL….." Iggy's voice faded out for a moment, "....BE EXPLAINED."
It understands my muffled speech? Di raised an eyebrow. She shook her head, her curly hair getting in her eyes again. Di decided to wait, even though she hated it, but there was nothing she could do. Maybe it would shut off.
Eventually she fell asleep, and awoke hours later with a bladder close to bursting and a headache. She glanced around. IGll, or Iggy, was gone. Di realized her hands were free, the cuffs nowhere to be found. She quickly undid her gag and remaining restraints, then took off to do her business. Afterwards she knelt down beside Boba Fetisha, who looked intact. She pried open his skull piece, and saw he was switched off. IGll's doing? Di frowned as she turned on her best friend.
"Meow," Boba Fetisha appeared none the worse for wear as he put his head under her hand, wanting to be petted. Di ignored him, instead wondering what the hell just happened. Where was Iggy? Where was the Rattigans? And the other IGll units that had been approaching?
Her eyes strayed to a black box several feet away. Hadn't that been inside the robot with her?
She picked it up, and dropped it as it hummed to life. A bluish hologram cast out of the box, and Di could vaguely make out the shape of a woman, who's hands appeared to be tied, or cuffed in front of her. She was messing with the dial on the box. A voice began speaking, "This is a message to a denizen of Trash World. Please, if you are receiving this, then the IGll unit I reprogrammed did its job. They are after you, heck they'll come for all of you," here the woman paused to take a breath, and listening for something, "There are thousands of IGll units, and this one, he is programmed to capture you and subdue you, in order to get this message. I'm sorry I couldn't reverse that part of his coding. He is just one of them, and malfunctions at times. I hope he kept you away from the other patrols, if they catch you there's no escape. You must get off Trash World. I don't know what point in time this will get to you, I may be in forced stasis. But if his biometric hardware is working right, he's found a Carter girl. If this is you, then you must leave. Please, we're depending on you. I'm out of time, but the planet you're living on used to be a completely different place. Find others, if you're a Carter you can also piece everything together, including where I'm at. I don't know the answer myself. Look for Rodriguez, the family name is known to have some excellent scientists, they can help you get off this planet."
The feed cut off, and Di stared at the black box, hardly believing her ears. She fingered her hair, her grey eyes scanning over it again. Who was that giving the message? And why were they after a Carter? She never used her last name, because of…. well, best not go there. Trash World being something different? She'd heard many a rumor around the watering holes, but that's all she chalked them up to be. And who was after her? She was just a scavenger, a rough girl who stole and scrapped for a living. One of the fabled crime syndicates?
Diana Carter had questions, and she would get the answers. Somehow. Maybe. Or not. Did it matter? She had no clue who the fuck that was, and she certainly had no desire to run across another IGll model, especially one that was fully functional.
First though, I need a break to do the most important thing of my life. I'm going to the nearest bar to get wasted. I've had enough thinking for tonight.