Renyke thinks for a moment then says
'Ok, I will swap my coat but not until we get to the *Edge,'
Shabra smiles and nods.
'OK, *dundeal Mr. Renyke Man. We go tonight when the dark takes. Safer see.'
The group is in an enclosure flanked by half deconstructed concrete walls. There are large metal containers lying around with shrubbery and foliage trying to make a stand against the manmade environment.
Tumbleweed plays in the soft wind searching for a home.
Flex kicks some redundant ashes by an upturned metal water tank.
'I can make us a fire,' he says excitedly.
Maybeline scurries around searching for food and sniffing the air.
She smells something, danger is afoot.
Flex is armed with a pocket of lighters.
He wears a brightly coloured patchwork gaberdine style overcoat with inside pockets that have everything a nomad would need. He has small pieces of mechanical paraphernalia, vintage innards from antique items, little motors. He even has motherboards and old PC parts.
‘Do you take this stuff everywhere you go?’ asks Renyke.
‘Yes sir-ee, some days man’dun gotta make swapsie-trade.
Everything has a use in the Zones brother.'
Renyke began to pace, ’Shabra is taking her time,’ he said standing near the opening of the enclosure.
‘She’ll come, she is huntin’ tis all my friend. You got attached already?’
Renyke stared at Flex a moment.
‘We need that ride," he said.
Then he checked the OS whose signal was intermittent.
.......What are the signs of being attracted to somebody?
The OS took a moment to compile a response……..
……Do you mean In humans Renyke?
……yes, yes, of course ‘humans’, Renyke replied.
The OS continued
…..nervousness around the subject of the attraction
…..extended thoughts about the subject
…..obsessive thoughts beyond normal curiosity about the subject
…..insomnia due to obsessive considerations of the subject
…..anxiety over possible outcomes of imaginary scenarios involving the subject
…..a desire to touch the intimate parts of the subject
…..dreams about the subject
…..fantasy building scenarios between the human and the subject
…..being overly concerned about….
‘Enough,’ said Renyke.
She carries two dead animals in her belt and washes a wide glinting blade under the water that flows from a broken pipe behind the container.
‘This water’s good. We can fill up the tanks and flask before we go.’
They are relaxed and considering preparing for the short but dangerous car journey to the Edge.
Shabra is checking the vehicle mechanics, the doors and metal buttresses worked in perfect synch and there were six exhausts. She fills the water kegs and puts them in the boot.
‘Where is the vehicle from?’ Asked Renyke.
‘I built it. answered Shabra, from scratch. Well, I had several wrecks and put my beaut together.
Me n her, we like lovers. She drives me crazy with her vibes.’
Shabra looked at Renyke parting her lips. They were oily from the fat of the meal.
She winks through long dark lashes.
Suddenly there is a distant high pitched sound, like a siren or swarm. It seems to be getting louder when Flex and Shabra grab Renyke, throwing him into the vehicle.
Seconds later they are surrounded by tens of Dinfants.
Dinfants are androids who look like babies and children under five. They were made by a single manufacturer who patented them in the early 22nd century. They were designed to learn, like human children, extremely quickly. It was found however that the early Dinfants (Mark 1s) would not stop learning and legislation was brought in to have them destroyed. One thousand early manufactured Dinfants were still unaccounted for.
A Dinfant, a child of around four with bright blue eyes and blond hair, jumps onto the car bonnet holding its drill hand in the air and shrieking. A toddler is on his back. Nails are being fired at speed towards the windscreen.
Shabra starts the engine.
‘No,’ shouts Renyke ‘not without Maybeline’
‘Are you joking man?’ Shouts Flex, ‘Let’s go.’
Renyke turns to look at Flex and Shabra who are both dismayed.
The OS is repeating in Renykes head over and over,
….Do not leave the Maybe Line……Mission must be aborted without the Maybe Line….
…Warning, abort mission, or collect the Maybe Line…..
The vehicle is revving under Shabra's nervous foot as she considers her options.'
'Trust me to get a gig with a mama's boy, she mumbles making eye contact with a Dinfant on the car bonnet.'
'Dem freakin' things, where there is one there are 100!" screams Flex.
The car is surrounded by the Dinfants who are screaming and wailing in high-pitched voices that can be heard above the engine.
Now the Dinfants are flying at the windows kicking and screaming. They activate bionic body parts made into saws and hammer drills and try to cut into the metal buttresses.
Then Maybeline scratches the top of the window from the roof of the car.