CICERO’S

CATAPULT

MATTHEW

SENKOWSKI

More doings in Autopia

             Magnetometer Realties’ owned a significant section of Autopia Delta S-219. Just a minor land signature on a virtual blip screen, careless in it’s water and electricity regulations, and mostly weary of sending the greater city at large into full scale meltdown at all times.

            The energy regulation auto-bureaus were indeed chronic to failure and losses on a constant basis. Fortunatelymost times, they only operated during business hours.

            The Fed-Intel Complex regulators ran constantly everyday. With a constant supply of central air duct circulation, radio signal transductors, and renewable modern piping systems on indefinite suspension.

            Over time, the system had become confused. Observed by a single securities company apparently advising whatever personal assistance necessary. The two main security system computers within it’s headquarters regulated conversations through virtual hyperspace over many long tedious distances elsewhere.

            Many automatic creatures began to ‘zero’ in on the virtual disempowerment sections. Literally twenty-four massive, hundred square yard level structures, amassed as concrete multi-security-system dominated residences. There were almost too many places to hide; if tamperors, tinkerers, or anybody else in earshot came to alter their virtual regulation manifolds.
Last on most everybody’s list of popularity for that action-less Wednesday, dissolute Farley Tipton, Fed-Intel security officer extraordinaire, was alone in a company van eating a fried eggplant sandwich. The phone rang, “What’s the story?” he answered.

            “I’m too busy right now.” Tipton confided to the interviewer.

            From faraway above the roof of a hovering jet-black recreational auto-bus, birds flew above the ageing massive pillars. Much of the buildings in Autopia were left behind from long after that awful automated siege from many years prior.

            Machines fighting humans to a bitter rivalry for over hundreds of historic years. Yet, in the inactivity between, could things really ever return to normal from an institution of multi-security-systems so regulated? These robotic thingamabobs seemed to thrive on dominion. Yet the securities companies were so co-operative with them, nobody anywhere ever felt they had the right to complain.

            Much of the artificially intelligent security beacons were following their orders from an I-S1R-2020 office regulation processor. They often never provided any physical backlash against humans, but sometimes a computer processor forgot its improprieties.

            Avengers of automated injustice. Humans had the rare opportunity to affirm a mortal challenge against an automated society. A computer dominated dreamland of virtual inhumanity, with scatters of human beings here & there, allowed robots to patrol the streets on a regular basis. Observing every neighborhood through their tele-phonic micro processors.

            Last of all concerns were the rat infested gutters outside of the I-S1R-2020 radio observation radius. It had the power to even recognize and identify every single squirell, raccoon, or lost pet for almost 20 square blocks. In the last place suspected for automated supremacy. Indubitably, the I-S1R-2020 was shut down either due to human incompetence, or the intrusion of another mechanical computerized benefactor.

            Pirate computer systems were not unheard of. They had been know to hack into many different Fed-Intel districts before. A human counterpart was often sent in to add a more organic level of professionalism. Human beings were usually observed as reliable co-operators, more often than naught, while multiple security system computers vied in bitter secrecy for social supremacy.

            Fed-Intel officer Tipton concluded his phonecall. Colin Randall, his supervisor, was mostly in complete fidelity with his marriage, but his wife cooked incredible salmon steaks, and mostly scent free.

            Though Tipton seemed distraught to confirm the disabling of the I-S1R-2020 from their analysis profiler in his security van. The data bank processor refused communications, possibly due to ignorance, or perhaps it just needed some time to relax.

            Economically, the Fed-Intel van made a segue through an alley crowded with rats. Colliding with numerous packing boxes and trash bags. Tipton ruminated about his poor dry-cleaning, and how it was absconded with and taken hostage that one timewhile later found on the inanimate body of a homicidal robot. It was just way too scary. There had to be other drycleaners in town?

            A repairman, ever at the beginning of his coffee break. The hovering auto-bus click-clacked downwards into a landing position. The doors of the Fed-Intel van parted, and Tipton walked over to the automatic vehicle. Knocking on the dark Plexiglas windshield, “I could use a lift.” he said, and it opened a side hatch for him.
He remembered proposing to his second girlfriend on a similar auto-bus, unfortunately, the high altitude caused her to lose consciousness before answering.

            Hovering up around the Delta S-219 securities buildingTipton observed no functional impairments. Even the windows looked freshly polished, and the bird-nests bustling with newly delivered worms.

            Looking like a round tomato shaped egg timer, the auto-bus floated Tipton into a stupor of benevolent supremacy. The building knew he was coming, and it was only a matter of time before he might just have to give up, and go home to feed his undernourished guinea pig.

            On the ground once again, he walked towards the main doorway. Unsure if there might even be a single human being to smell his aftershave. He noticed an old security guard sitting at a deskhis face looking coal blackand hair matted with little tufts of padded grayness, “How can I help you sir?” he said.

            “Nothing. There’s no problem. I’m just going to use your restroom.” he said, and Tipton walked past the security guard, disappearing down a long corridor out of sight.

            Tipton had suspicions that the entire building was on secret lockdown. Likely something exceedingly sinister was observing his every move. He noticed a potted plant next to a shiny garbage can and an upright unlit lamp.

            Making his way to a bare and open corridor. There were about four shut doors, 2x2 on either side of a vacant 5-sided cube, with a highly extending wall mirror to the end. He opened the closest door to his immediate right, seeing a staircase, and began to ascend the long egregious steps upwards.

            His hip radio buzzed, “Hey Farley, do you copy?” said Randall.

            “Shut up. Don’t talk to me.” he answered.  

            Likely everything was okay Randall thought. Even if Randall had no idea what was happening, things rarely ever became too dangerous for a securities repairman, especially during an average interview process.

            The light bulbs flickered unsteadily in the stairwell. The power systems had been known to shut-down on occasion, just to give a shot of caution to the security systems, relinquishing their capacity to inform the public of any unwanted social misgivings.

            An overwhelming gong chimed through the entirety of Autopia. The one and only Arbitron commanded, “Take a break. Your employment is being controlled.”

            By that time the city could take a breath of pensive relaxation. In this tidy event, moderate transduction likely impinged a class use of moderated automation. It was only a slight bendin an otherwise flawless breaking schedule.

            Tipton arrived on an upper level. Eyes scanning in stealthy recognizance. He sees an android sitting on a chair, looking somewhat disempowered, “Hey.” said Tipton.

            The android’s single eye-bulb alit, rotated, and turned upwards to the side. Looking up at Tipton, “Hi, you caught me napping.” said the android.

            “Don’t worry. I’m not staying long. Do you know who’s in charge?”

            “You mean like the leader?” said the android, and Tipton shrugged back, “Hard to say. It’s been strange these last couple of weeks.”

            “What do you do here? What’s your purpose?”

            “Watchobservegather information. Mostly I just stay still and don’t bother anything, but I haven’t seen anybody else around here for quite a while.”

            “Where’s the I-S1R-2020’s central processor?”

            The little lamp light in it’s head went dead. Slumping down in a slinky sedated position. The repairman Tipton detected the little soup-can was most likely deactivated.

            Sprung from the main level doorway alike a microscopic guppy into a mighty stream. Tipton approaches the old security guard, “You wouldn’t happen to know the main processor in charge around here, would ya?” said Tipton, pointing his right thumb up behind himself.

            An automatic fencing system encloses around the main entrance. Bars drop over each of the accessible windows throughout main level. Red lights flash, as sirens ring. Tipton eyes the security guard, and spins back towards the stairwell. The guard following along trying to keep up.

            “Randall,” Tipton said into the hip radio, “Randall, do you copy?”

            “Go ahead.” Randall replied.

            “Look, we definitely have a real problem.” and the lights went out in the enclosed mirror chamber, “We might be going into lockdown over here, and I’d recommend police assistance outside, before the whole city falls into chaos.”

            “Copy.”

            A red & white flashing vehicle careens out into traffic. Dozens of others slide into the parking lot of the Delta S-219 building. A large armada of police officers try to keep the public at bay after power outages strike local living areas sending robots into frenzies.

            The guard and Tipton tiptoe out of a stairwell doorway. Careful not to draw attention. They find themselves on the top floor, and segue toward a large dark doorway.

            “Do you have any idea what’s causing this?” asked Tipton.

            “Things been kinda funny the last little while. Mostly all the floors been falling into disrepair since the Janitor died.”

            “The Janitor?”

            So the janitor; secretly in charge of everything, had a coronary and was taken out of the equation. Walt Purgis; lowly janitor, and city-wide securities maintenance man.    Nobody might have ever known he had hemorrhoids, and did his dishes in the shower, or had a defective root canal which occasionally received broadcast-band police reports. He was just that intrical.

            “So how long ago did he die?”

            “About 5 months.”

            “All right, copy.” said Tipton into the radio, trying to calm the city, “Randall, let all of the police know, everything will be okay. I just found out the Janitor was in charge.”

            “Wait,” said Randall, and waited, “They’re wheeling in a catapult.”

            Wheeling the overpowering projective device into view. The police department secured an automatic drone in the form of a thin frail but durable robot. The thing shook as if cold, and sat in the frying-pan scoop ready for launching.

            “What was that?” said a local police officer, “What? A Janitor?”

            Tipton found a window hatch opening outwards. Leaning from the open vacancy. He sees down onto the myriad of flashing lights, noticing the catapult seemingly in firing position, “Uh, Randall, are you sure everything’s okay down there?”

            The drone android was equipped to send a binary static shockwave through all of the immediate circuitry relays, effectively disabling and stunning any A.I. security systems into submission. An officer raises his arms, “Fire!” yelled the launching sergeant. 

            The Centaur-W-1 bug robot launches up into infinite space. Slightly declining. The robot soars overtop the securities building, frightened, and totally misses its objective collision point.

            Tipton leans back inside. Walking over to the dark doorway with a single shining light overtop an observational camera-system, “Walt sent me.” said Tipton, and the camera lens refocuses, “Walt ain’t dead. He’s alive. Walt sent me.”

            The door opened revealing peels of blinding light. Tipton walked inside the main security chamber, a strange automated computer system appeared alike a whirling buzzing penny-arcade charity-bin.

            Coming into focus. Tipton looked at the computer terminal in charge, “What’s your call sign?” he asked, and the machine seemed to stultify in silence.

            Tipton recognized the machine as a COM-D-17 Fed-Intel outfitted securities inhibitor. More like the kind of model found on a down & out military base. This particular model seemed to have a fondness for having a dust free environment.

            “Look, Walt?” said Tipton, speaking into a rounded camera lens, “He said you need a break.” and the thing continued to remain silent, “Break, a break, it’s break time.”

            “He said, ‘Without you, he wouldn’t want to be alive.’”

            A string of blips and signatures. The machine seemed to understand. Showing a slight buzzing activity from it’s transparent encasement dome. The electricity gradually disempowered, and the machine likely re-empowered all of its many various power outages across the city.

            Public streets became better lit. Robots found a more comfortable radio band of communication. Homes bustled with light, happiness, and adult legitimacyas kids went right back to doing their homework.

            Tipton came walking out of the building. Clearing his recent phenomenological deactivation with the localized Police Captain; Herbert Sloapman, “It’s safe to go in there now. The COM-D-17 security system went AWOL, and I reasoned it into submission.”

            Walking away, “Everything’s okay now.”

            Alone on the barren streets leading back to his apartment. Tipton told Randall to take care of the company van, and that he would be back to work as usual tomorrow.

            A robot came towards him with what looked like a sore cranium. The machine massaged its head with a handful of metallic fingers. Getting a better look now, the machine revealed itself as the Centaur-W-1.

            “Hey, you’re not looking so hot there chief.” said Tipton.

            “They overshot me… I landed in a pet store.” it said, and Tipton got a better look at the creature, “Is that guinea pig food?” said Tipton.

            The creature saw a plastic bag of food wedged in a chest manacle. Pulling the starchy seeds out of itself. Tipton put his hand out, “Do you mind?” he said.

            The creature let Tipton take hold of the pet food. Making his way out into the bustle of automated social-networks. Tipton tossed the bag of seed up into the air, and caught it with a smile, while making his way back home towards a very lonely guinea pig.

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