Chapter 15. A Bum, a Bomb and a Belle
He told people to call him “Lone Wolf”, but the nature of the man was akin to more of a walking marshmallow than a predator.
Anti-government, a conspiracy theorist, still holding out that JFK was, in fact, still alive, in reality kidnapped by a nebulous group, possibly aliens, and the person in the limousine was in fact, not a person but a very advanced animatronics mannequin.
To this point he had little evidence other than opinions.
Walter “Lone Wolf” Whitbred, chewed on another handful of almonds.
“So.” Another handful of nuts. “You are telling me this guy says he is an android and you believe him with no evidence?”
Alvin looked quizzically at the leader of the small group of conspiracy theorists.
“You accept that the President meets regularly with aliens, but you have doubts this man here is an android?” Alvin shook his head.
Walter looked at Stephen for a long moment.
Alvin looked at Steve and shrugged.
“Show him like you showed me.”
The change was abrupt, the dark hair coloring to black as he became a short, broad Asian woman, then a tall, blue-eyed and red-headed fugitive from some Norse legend.
Walter uttered profanity at each change when Steve went through a pantheon of shapes, changing from male to female, covering the gamut of every shade of human in the database in a few minutes.
Sitting down and spoke gently.
“I need to recharge, that takes a lot of energy.”
Walter shook his head.
“Dude do you know how much someone would pay for that? Can you record anything you see?”
“Everything.” Steve responded. “Anything I see. I am able to see from one-hundred micrometers to one-hundred nanometers, so I see a lot.”
“Nanometer range? You can see in UV!”
“Yes.” Steve did not understand why Alvin laughed.
“Walter, you are being Admiral Obvious now.” Alvin chuckled. “Now, this is a problem we need to take care of.
Alvin explained the recent history of discoveries, Steve the Android filling in gaps while Walter paced around holding his head as if it were all too much to take in.
“My head hurts.” Walter moaned. “Everything I have ever worried about, killer robots, smart cars that serve the government to spy on us.”
“Sleeper does not serve the government.”
“Sleeper? SLEEPER!?” Walter gaped. “You NAMED it?”
“It was named by other cars.”
“Other!?” Walter sat down. “Oh… shit.”
“Have I said something wrong?” Steve asked Alvin.
“No,” Alvin chuckled. “You showed someone with an edge of paranoia that he was not as paranoid as anyone ever called him.”
“Do you know what this means? The government has spied on us for, Oh my god, I don’t know how long! How old is that car you bought? Is it new?” Walter began to tap on the keys. A metal frame around the room began to rattle down, a copper mesh covered ever inch of the mobile wall, except for the door solid steel door they entered, a copper framed screen door he built into the cage.
“A Faraday cage, no signals in, no signals out. How does that make you feel Tin Man?” Walter addressed Steve the android. “A little woozy? Like you lost signal? Can’t have your human driver pushing buttons to tell you what to do?”
“I feel no change, am I supposed to? No human drives, me, I am autonomous. I have one program, to reach the James Madison power generation unit near the Capital.” Steve looked quizzically at Walter.
“The closest power facility in Washington is underneath the White House and it’s power cell driven, alien tech and gives free power from the earth’s magnetic fields.” Walter walked around and pointed at maps on the wall with push-pins and strings. A technological counterpoint to the displays and computers that littered the inside of the abandoned building.
“The government has had the tech to give us all free power for dozens of years.” Turning to Alvin. “How old is your car? A dozen? That’s how long the government has had the power generation perfected.”
“No, it is older than that.” Steve said.
“It’s pre-war tech.” Alvin added.
“What war?” Walter stopped in mid-rant.
“Last century, west coast?” Alvin slowly spoke the words to maximize the impact.
“Ho..Ly.. Shhhh… “ Walter paused. “Bull! No, they have not had the tech that long.”
“This car, built by the Terran Green Machine corporation, by components designed and built by a small sub-contractor company, NeverFail.” Steve informed both men.
“How do you know this?” Walter eyed the android suspiciously.
“Sleeper told me.”
“Sleeper?” Walter stroked his chin.
“The car, Walter.” Alvin said.
“I told you not to call me that! Lone Wolf or just Wolf.” Walter said.
“The car uses a Z-bus system.” Steve the Android told Walter. “It was extremely advanced systems then, it is comparable to what I use now, a balanced ternary operating hardware system. The car is more massive than mine and draws about three times the power. There are signs of corrosion and failed circuits.”
“Failed?” Alvin asked.
“Yes, the circuits failed recently, the power was off at the time and the reason is not recorded.”
“Um… That might be my doing.” Alvin admitted. “I pulled some plugs, broke a few wires.”
“That would explain the corrupted files in the memory, the wires will need repair or replacement.” Steve turned to Walter and following his desired name. “Me Lone Wolf, we need your best minds in the group to build a flesh covered robot for one mission.”
“No, not Me Lone Wolf.” Walter blustered. “You make me sound like an Asian Lupus, call me just Wolf, Okay?”
“Okay, call you Just Wolf.” The android nodded. “I will store that in permanent memory.”
“Right.” Walter nodded. “Now, how do we build a robot to do what you do? We can build one, but they all are obviously what they are. Most use treads and never use transporters.”
“We can just build a singular program. Not many countries scan people for this kind of explosive.” Alvin said.
“Now what about this bomb you are telling me about?” Walter asked.
“Steve?” Alvin looked at the android.
“The warhead is one point one milligrams of antimatter by weight.” Steve looked into Just Wolf without blinking. “This has a nominal yield of eight-thousand six hundred pounds of TNT as America measures it.”
“Jeezzzuz.” Walter mumbled. “And it is where?”
“Just behind and above my xyphoid process. Near where a heart would be. Should the local police shoot, they shoot center mass of a torso and it the creator considered a high chance level of hitting the container and causing an explosion. The creator estimated the total devastation range at four-hundred meter radius.”
“That’s over twelve-hundred feet! In one direction.” Alvin gasped. ”You didn’t tell me that at my warehouse.”
“You didn’t ask.” Steve said innocently.
“Okay, okay. So how do we get this…” Walter stopped. “How do we get this bomb out of you without blowing ourselves up?”
“It is self-powered for a short time, it can last three days without external power safely. It also has a permanent magnet core as a backup, but it is temperature and shock sensitive.”
“How sensitive?” Alvin asked.
“Dead circuits? Without power, an impact on a solid surface at greater than ten feet per second would suffice.”
“How do you get that kind of energy?” Walter asked.
“A drop from one meter.” Steve answered.
“A drop from your card table over there.” Steve pointed where a half-eaten pizza sat.
“Jeeezzzuss.” Alvin whispered. “My mom got mad once when I dropped a glass of milk off the table, this is a little worse.”
“Alvin, just shut it.” Walter shook his head. “I need to smoke some weed.”
“You don’t smoke weed.” Alvin said.
“I’m going to start.” Walter shook his head. “So what kind of android or robot are we going to build, where are we going to send it.”
Steve looked at the two humans.
“My point of origin, make it appear female. I will give the basic program.” Steve instructed.
“Okay, a pretty girl?”
“Indeed.” Steve’s eyes blinked twice. “I have the trigger and we can grow the flesh to cover her well enough to pass inspection.”
“Okay, I have Opticon coming, Thor and his girlfriend the Lady Sif, Burning Chip, and Running Man are all on their way.” The conspiracy fanatic said. “The Belle of the Bomb will make her way back to your home from here.”