Chapter 1. Gimme Your Phone
The young woman in the wheelchair sat at the corner, waiting for the stop light to change. The final act of Cats was finished, the applause and bows over, she left and moved along with the crowd, at last exited the door marked with a blue and white sign, and alone in her wheelchair, took the isolated ramp to the covered parking lot.
A tone sounded and she stopped in the shadows, held her mobile phone up and began to tap on the screen, quietly observed by a young man who had followed quietly behind the humming wheelchair, not dressed to attend the stage play, this was not a patron of the arts.
Suddenly, with a burst of speed, the gangly youth ran up and grabbed the phone away from the physically challenged woman and the ran off into the night with her righteous indignation yelling after him.
After her third yell, the woman pulled out another mobile phone and dialed a number.
‟Hello, it is Zed-two. Activate. Affirmative, activate device. Requesting a ride at twelfth and G street.” Then she broke the line.
Down the street, looking at the screen of the phone, the mugger tapped on the touch-sensitive screen.
He died instantly as the phone exploded with the force of a small hand grenade, both hands blew apart in a crimson mist, the shock wave penetrated his chest wall and tore his heart off the vascular tree. His face inverted from the force of the expanding pressure wave that fractured his skull. The sound of the detonation was quieter than a pistol shot, but more lethal.
Three blocks north, Zed-Two sat in her wheelchair and waited for the called-upon ride. The chair was not entirely needed, the double amputee from her tour in the Marines had a minor issue with the dishonesty of taking off her prosthetic legs and tooling around in her, admittedly high-tech, chair.
She slipped her ‟BKA” transtibial prosthetic limbs that fit her knee joints perfectly and stood up. The carbon fiber blades that served for feet at the end of the titanium and carbon-fiber anchor. An active magnetic suspension indicator light came on and she was back in business of being bipedal again. With this computer-aided-design and electronic pair of lower limbs, she could run faster than most people.
And don’t ever tempt her with giving someone a drop-kick, she always felt the energy storage and impact prediction system could drive even a large man through a cinderblock wall.
She always felt, not just empowered, but super-powered and independant.
Once she had gotten over her usual thrill of standing upright again, Zed-Two came back to herself and back to the mission at hand.
Folding up her wheelchair, a high-tech machine with capabilities include climbing stairs, performance specs that would put a sports car to shame and defensive systems that would save a life should the wheelchair turn over.
An emerald-green panel truck pulled up and the side door opened. Zed-TWo lifted the wheelchair into the back and climbed in. She could have run as fast as this mode of transport, but her chair weighed too heavy to carry.
‟Princess Extracted” The front passenger said into a hand-held radio while the driver wheeled back into traffic and headed on to its new assignment.
The body lay in the alley two hours in the chill night air before a father of four who finished his shift at a second job walked home down the same path. Exhausted from his long work-week and bleary eyed, he blinked several times in the early morning hours before he realized the broken body that lay in his path was a human.
He walked stooped over, an old man with an overlong hair pulled into a pony tail that looked as if it were held together by some tacky-black substance that collected there for lack of washing.
The elderly gentleman was looking at a smart phone, an armor surrounded the plastic and glass electronic gift with the strength of steel.
But even then as the frail grandparent held the phone out so he could see it, seemingly to testify that he was far-sighted despite his glasses.
Two other night creatures that predated on those that could not fight back stepped close. The gent did not acknowledge their presence, which elicited a grin on one of the dark-souled humans.
‟Excuse me, mister.” The smaller of the two stepped close and around the gray-haired loner, who turned to face him. Holding his hand away from the young man. The grandfather eyed the youth suspiciously.
‟What do you want?”
‟Your phone.” The larger of the two grabbed the old man’s phone.
‟No! NO! That was a gift from my grandkids!”
‟Now it is ours.” The larger street-rat said as they ran off to the shouted indignation of the old man.
In the moments after they faded into the darkness, leaving only laughter echoing behind them, the stooped old man straightened up and removed his intentionally filthy wig and pulled out a bluetooth device from inside and put it in his ear.
‟Omega-thirteen. Affirmative. Assigned device is ready for activation. Request pickup at my location.” His voice no longer tired and weak sounding.
The young strong-arm robbers ran for a block until they were well out of sight and walked down a familiar alley.
Others they knew gathered around. The pickings were good tonight, a dozen phones and captured tablets, they sat around and separated the electronic devices into categories.
One of the devices lit up, passionate noises of pornographic sex began to leak out of the stack.
‟Oh dude! Someone was doing porn, it is one of these!”
Pressing power buttons of every device they could find, the sounds seemed to jump from one hand-held computer to the next, from tablet to tablet and back. The mission of finding the video, distracted them and every one of the group held at least one, the large majority of them held one in each hand.
A chirp and all sound stopped and were replaced by the sound of a woman’s voice.
‟Three… Two… One…”
The collective ringing of the phones followed with energetic detonations of every device, constructed with hard plastic explosive. Even the hard glass touchscreen, ignited and burst outward with an expanding shockwave on the order of ten-times the speed of sound. Shredding every gang member that stood in the room.
Later police investigation came away with an unknown explosive device and an unknown number of victims.
It took the crime processing unit six-weeks to determine that the explosion was, in fact, twenty different devices that detonated simultaneously.
It was a non-survivable storm of shock waves and shrapnel bouncing around inside a small room, the postmortem reports showed frequent notations of ‟Injuries incompatable with life”.
Doctor Robert Browning knocked on the door and entered the Vice-Chief’s office with his reports in hand.
“Janis,” Robert spoke carefully to his friend, they had known each other since early college days. “We have a problem…”