Friday, June 3, 2016

Another humorous scene from "Chaser"

Finally had time to get back to work on some of my books, after everyday-life stuff keeping me sidetracked for the past few months. I'll have more to say about that in another post. For now, here's another amusing scene from Chaser ... hopefully one I haven't posted already and forgotten thanks to my chronic brainfart syndrome.

"Nice. I think I could start to like it here." I started making plans for Seth, Marissa, and myself after my shift ended. "All this place needs is a massage parlor."
"Which it has, actually."
"Really? Sweet. I haven't been to one of those in a while." I tossed off a lopsided grin. "I wonder if they'll give me a happy ending if I slip 'em a few extra dollars."
She snickered. "It never occurred to me to ask. I'll leave that to you."
"That's fine. I'm pretty shameless."
She laughed and we continued on our way. A few minutes later we reached the maintenance section and walked into a large repair bay filled with tools and other devices on workbenches, a shuttle and several smaller vehicles, and...
I raised a brow ridge and pointed. "Isn't that one of the 'kids'?"
She looked across the large chamber. "Yeah, that's Jamie. What the hell happened?"
We hurried over to where the car-size, spider-like robot stood. Several of his panels had been removed and his left-rear leg had a large hole punched through it. A book was clamped in his left pincers while he turned one of the pages with his right.
One of his "eyes" rotated up toward us. "Oh, hi!" he said, and waved.
"Hey." I waved a hand at the damage. "First day on the job and you break something?"
"Got hit by a micrometeorite. From the size of the hole it tore in me, I'd say it was about the size of a grain of sand. Punched right through my leg before I had any idea it was coming."
"Shit. Glad it didn't hit anything vital."
"Me, too! Kamala said it hit a weak point in my armor plating, so she's off looking for a replacement."
"I hope they have one that'll fit," Corona said, taking a look around the workshop. "I haven't seen any other robots like you and Adam here."
"There aren't any others now, but there have been before. Complex AIs need a change of pace now and then, just like organics, so the last group was sent home for their yearly maintenance cycle. Which opened up ten positions just before we shipped out. I've heard that another group will be sent over on a later shuttle, so all the necessary parts are kept in stock here."
"Glad to hear it." Corona leaned against the workbench beside him and stuck her hands into the pockets of her black cargo shorts. "Isn't this the kind of thing Otto and Shakira would be working on, though?"
"Hi, guys," Kamala's voice said from behind us. I turned and found her slithering across the floor, pushing a huge cart loaded with panels, a modular leg, and several boxes of internal parts. She stopped at the workbench and moved some of the boxes onto it. "Normally, they would, but I could use the practice. I mostly just work on computers and vehicles, so I figured it'd be a good idea to broaden my horizons."
"Whee, it'll be an educational experience! I love learning new things!" Jamie bounced and waved his arms.
Kamala laughed. "Glad to have an eager patient." She slid over to another bench, pulled a huge jack out from under it, and used it to prop up Jamie's backside. "Okay, gotta take your leg off now."
"Sure, whenever you're ready." Jamie moved the book in front of his lower eye.
Kamala opened a sliding door under the bench, took out a large toolbox, and opened it. She glanced at him and waved one hand at the book while digging tools out with the other three. "Interesting--you actually read books instead of just downloading them?"
"When I download books, it's just data. I've found that reading them the way organic people do is a much more satisfying experience."
"That's fascinating." Kamala smiled. "I think we're gonna get along just fine."
"Speaking of getting along," I said, "have you made any progress with Roger?"
She blushed. "I'm pretty sure he knows I have a crush on him. He seems to find it amusing."
"So, he knows you're interested, but hasn't made a move?"
"Why would he?" She waved one of her hands over her body. "I'm a snake with four arms and no legs. He probably thinks it's too weird, if it ever crossed his mind at all."
"You never know. Why don't you offer to buy him a cup of coffee or something?"
"Oh, Jesus." She shook her head frantically and unscrewed an access panel behind Jamie's damaged leg. "I--I don't think I'd have the nerve to do that. Not without having a stiff drink first. Or ten."
Corona cleared her throat and nodded at something behind me. "Don't look now, but opportunity is about to knock."
I glanced over my shoulder and grinned. There was Roger, standing near one of the doors at the far end of the room, glancing around as if searching for someone.
Jamie chuckled. "I just rearranged his schedule. I slipped in a request for a full system diagnostic, so it'd be the very next item on his list. Looks like he's already finished with his last job, so here he comes. You're welcome."
Some of the color drained from Kamala's face. "You what?" Corona and I looked at each other and burst into laughter.
"Jamie, you little pimp!" She high-fived him.
Jamie giggled and waved until he caught Roger's attention. "Over here!" He looked at Kamala and said in a low voice, "Don't worry, I won't let on that it's a setup. You can take it from here, I hope."
"Uh..." Kamala fixed a petrified stare on me and scooted a few inches to the right, hiding behind Jamie.
"Oh, no you don't." Laughing, I grabbed her arm and tugged her back into full view. "We don't want Jamie's efforts to be for nothing, do we?"
Corona patted Kamala's shoulder. "I'll go get some coffee for you both." She hurried away.
"I'm..." Kamala's voice was so faint, I could barely hear it. "I'm gonna need something stronger."
I gave her shoulder a playful swat, then noticed something that needed to be fixed before Roger came close enough to see it. I turned to face her and stretched my left wing out to block her from sight momentarily. "Um, you might want to pull your skirt up. Don't want to be too forward about this."
She looked down, gasped, and yanked her denim skirt up a few inches. "Damn it! It's the toolbelt--I don't have hips or ass cheeks, so the weight keeps pulling it down." She notched the belt tighter.
I pulled my wing back in and glanced over my shoulder. Roger had made it about halfway across the repair bay. "Well, in that case, you have a pretty good excuse for flashing him every now and then." I winked. "I'm assuming you have the proper parts down there?"
She snorted. "Yeah, I have the right parts. One of 'em is even located in the right spot, more or less."
"Hmm. So, both, uh, 'openings' are in front, then?"
"Yeah. Makes using a toilet damned awkward. And if I fart, it's literally right under my nose." She took a deep breath and rubbed her upper hands over her face. "I hope he doesn't freak out when he sees it. Assuming I ever get past first base."
I smiled and patted her on the back. "See? You're already planning to let him see your 'business.' You're making progress."
"I didn't mean it like--"
I looked over my shoulder again. "Oh, he's almost here. Make me proud." I backed away, smiling and waving at Roger as he arrived.
"Hi." He aimed a brilliant smile at her.
"H..." She cleared her throat. "Hi. C-can I have you? Help you! Can I help you?" She covered her face with her hands again. "Oh, shit!"
He stared at her with a bemused smile. "Well...actually, I'm here to run a full system diagnostic on..." He frowned, tapped his multitool, and glanced at the text projected in a small holofield above it. "On Jamie, here."
She nodded, keeping her hands over her face. "Sure. Whenever you're ready. I'll just...keep working on the damaged parts."
"Okay." He placed his multitool on the bench and brought up a larger holofield.
I leaned over to whisper into Kamala's ear. "Don't forget to talk to him. Just start a conversation."
"Easy for you to say," she whispered back.
"Well, if he didn't know you were interested before, he sure as hell does now. Don't blow it."
Chaser is available in ebook format from Amazon.

Here's a five-star review of the book.

And here's a video I made, in which I talk a bit about the book.


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