Renyke decides to explore another avenue to get some wheels, or maybe even some wings. The journey seemed attainable, after all, 60 km was no distance.
On the way into the derelict compound, he had seen a woman sitting on a vehicle. She was what humans referred to as 'hot'.
But Renyke was not familiar with the strange surge of physical feelings he felt. In fact, he didn't even really know what hot meant.
Mabel had used it about friends at college and he had an inkling that it meant attractive and powerful enough to engage a compelling force for those who looked on.
There had been a momentary surge of something unknown deep inside him. Was it fear he wondered? Trepidation?
He thought he saw a skeleton in the car and shook his head. Something was causing problems with his normally smooth-running train of thought. Perhaps it was a warning of impending doom? Or was it hunger? Things were not computing.
Renyke got the POS to check his health levels.
...Normal activity presenting. 99.9% battery remaining. Nothing unusual to report.
As a droid, Renyke had never really eaten food. But his system was able to ingest and eject it in order to effectively mimic humans. Once Maybel had made him eat birthday cake. His tongue was covered in tiny sensors that told the POS the exact ingredients. But he didn't taste it as such.
The OS would tell him if things were sweet or sour and there would be a reaction in the sensors, it was different to human taste which is linked strongly to memories and concepts.
Many humans in the Midcast Projects were lonely and wanted to feed their droids, especially the *dinfants who were exact copies of children who never grew up.
They were extremely popular but died eventually because of incompatible tech and software problems, as well as the gradual deterioration of faux skin matter and body hair.
They were easy enough to replace or upgrade but some parents had needed counseling for Dinfant-Loss Depression.
*DLD was a rising concern due to increased prevalence and its effect on the workforce. It was found that humans could easily fall in love with the outer casings of the dinfants as well as the constructed personalities. Something almost unheard of three generations prior.
But the outer coverings didn't last very long, especially if there was an active physical relationship. Ten years of feeding and playing would take its toll on the fabric of the dinfants. If the parents could not afford repairs, they would soon begin to look tatty.
Of course, this also applied to adult droids who would usually be upgraded on a regular basis.
Droid manufacturers often offered ongoing upgrades as part of a rental scheme.
But some humans fell in love with their droids and had blessing ceremonies. It was not legal to marry a droid because of the financial implications following the death of a human. Legally, droids had similar rights to human children. It was illegal to inflict violence on a droid in public.
This was to protect children who may be susceptible to influence. Of course, what goes on behind closed doors was a private affair provided human children were not presenting behavioral issues.
Some antique droids lasted the test of time but legislation had been brought in to avoid the hoarding of defunct androids as they posed a threat to contemporary society, for various reasons. There were issues with seepage for a start, and then problems of unsupervised regeneration which was actually a serious crime in the midcast projects.
The government gave upgrade vouchers for defunct or redundant droids and would supervise destruction in centralized plants.
'I need to think about it for a bit,' said Renyke.
'No *ishy, brother,' said Jerome as he stamped on another Scritter. 'Damn those nasty little *mudafinks!'
Renyke exits the concrete compound with Flex running and twitching anxiously behind
'Now I have two dogs', thinks Renyke looking down at the robodog who had waited patiently at the entrance.
He notices some graffiti with the Redact logo as Maybeline crawls out of his coat and nudges his cheek for food.
'Hey!' the woman sitting on the car whistles.
'Like the coat! Cool *toggies. You wanna *swapsie-trade?'
The woman jumped off the car and lifted her fist for an air bump followed by an elbow bump. Renyke tried to keep up but was cumbersome. He had seen these maneuvers in old films on the *tellywebs but he had never actually done them.
'Wappens?' asked the woman is a strong accent. Renyke guessed what she meant and said,
'I need transport, not far, just to Redact, do know that place.'
The woman laughed.....'man like you, looks way too soft for the *guanty-travel.'
Renyke checks the POS.
....*gaunty-travel'......colloquial, Zoners' slang roughly translates as a very dangerous journey
'But I can take to the second-zone, five miles nearer, then you gotta make your own ways,' she continues.
'What you go by?' she asks.
Renyke looks confused.......
'I'm Shabra. Lady of the Shadows, where I go no light follows, ya hear me soldier? I travel at night where there are no lights.'
'I'm Renyke,' he said, trying to decipher the poetry.
You wanna swapsie-trade the coat, or you got me somtin sweeta? I take nibs, bits.......1000 G-bits and you got me hired. But I like that coat too.'
Flex returns after urinating out of sight to hear the conversation.
'It's a good deal man, he says, good deal, five miles is five miles. We come too, me n the dog! I got no ties to this street.'
Flex looks at Shabra who sighs, 'Yeah yeah, whoever, no pipin' in my *vicular though.'
Renyke knows that Flex could be useful, and the robodog too. It was obedient and would do as it was told.