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   Chapter 11 No.11

The Inscrutable Mr. Robot By CSeanMcGee Characters: 16380

Updated: 2018-02-26 12:01


The Engineer looked like a bloodied rag. His body hung off the table in impossible ways. But for all the torture and suffering that had been inflicted on this poor man, he still wasn't dead. He merely lay there, twisted and contorted; his blood-filled lungs making each breath sound like a farmer's boot, pushing through thick wet mud.

The Doctor left the torture to attend to more pressing issues.

"Where is my assistant?" he shouted.

He needn't have. She'd been there the whole time just waiting to be called.

"Oh, there you are."

She could have been anywhere and he wouldn't have noticed.

"Is that blood?" she asked.

The Doctor was careful not only with his words but also with his hygiene. He always took longer than necessary scrubbing his hands and more so, beneath his fingernails. He was also very careful about keeping secrets.

"It's none of your business, " he said. "What about the robot?"

The Assistant had a pained look on her face as if she'd had an itch for days.

"I have to ask, Doctor. Why the robot?"

They very rarely conversed; this was new for both of them.

"Stupid question, " said The Doctor, which is why they rarely conversed. "What are we striving for?" he asked. "What is the point of any of this?"

The Assistant looked a little puzzled.

"To change the world?" she said, in a rising and almost uncertain inflection.

The Doctor stared at his bloodstained hands.

"It's not enough, " he said.

His accomplice looked shocked; a little disheartened.

"We've accomplished so much, " said The Doctor.

As he spoke, he thought about all of the lives he had ruined; vast fortunes of gold and knowledge humiliated into the worth of a single penny. He thought about all those wicked things he had done in the good name of humanity.

"It is because of our tireless work, " he said, remembering how ashamed his mother looked the last time he saw her. "And it is because of dedication to what is right and just that this world is finally starting to mould into a far more moral landscape; one that is organic and less hinged to our prehistoric binary roots of breeding and killing - one bound by misogynistic psychology and spiritual doctrine. We have changed the world; not through a war of dissidence, but through rigorous intellectual debate and public shaming. But what good will our efforts have been if we are only to be replaced?"

"It's just a machine. I mean it looks lame, like a…"

She was immediately stopped in her tracks.

"Are you religious?"

She looked for a second as if she were confessing to some lewd sexual practice.

"Not entirely, no, " she said. "But I believe I have some important work to do, something profound to give back to my culture; to society. I'd say I'm more spiritual than…"

"Do you believe in God?"

"No, " said The Assistant.

"You bloody well should, " said The Doctor, drying his hands and walking away.

The idea of being replaced was something that had pestered and disturbed The Assistant her whole life. She had taken so much from so many for so long, she knew it was a matter of time before just as much was taken from her and so as always, she would have to strike first.

The Doctor entered his classroom once more. Gone was his sense of worry and predicament. Gone was the vein in his neck that bulged horrendously whenever he was insulted, disgraced, or close to defeat. Gone too was the grinding of his teeth; something he did when he was restless; and when there was something that he couldn't have but that he desperately wanted. Rabid dogs and wild boars salivated whereas The Doctor ground his teeth.

"Sunflower, " he said, his mood turning magnetic all of a sudden. You'd hardly think he had just gutted a man like a fish.

The Doctor shuffled across the room like a child on newly polished floors. He had his arms abreast and was humming something under his breath. His smile was quite terrific too. It looked genuine as if he actually meant it.

It felt like Christmas all of a sudden. The air was joy and merry, and The Doctor himself looked as if his veins were filled with helium. He seemed to float towards the woman of his dreams as if gravity were not such a strict rule after all. The last time he felt this giddy, someone wound up dead.

"I was thinking about you all day today, " he said, whilst looking elsewhere.

Her blasted child was here somewhere. Why on Earth dogs were forced to wear collars and yet children were allowed to roam free was something that always trifled him.

"And where is the little princess?" he said.

He tried to sound jovial, he did. It was hard, though, to pretend not to hate children.

"Don't change the subject, " said The Woman.

She sounded as if this argument had gone on too long; but that she would see as far as it had to go. "You're always working, " she said, "it's almost impossible to get hold o

voicemail, it's fine."

"It's him, isn't it? How many times is it today then? Twenty, thirty?"

"Look until we get the divorce final, I can't block him entirely. I'm doing the best I can. I don't wanna hear a grown man cry. It's…"

"It's pathetic, " said The Doctor, interrupting.

Both were distracted, then, by the sound of a small girl weeping.

"Oh shit, " said The Woman, realizing she had erred. "What's wrong, darling?"

Were she given just one word, The Girl might have said 'everything'. Instead, with her mother's attention firmly on her, The Girl started to cry; and between every sniffle, she mumbled something or other. The Woman couldn't quite make out her words, but she was a sad little girl, she didn't need to.

"There's no reason to cry, " said The Doctor.

Only he could make consolation sound like criticism and feedback.

"If you stop crying, " he said, sounding as if he had something to offer. "You'll feel much better, I promise."

The premise was sound enough, yet The Girl kept weeping.

"I want daddy, " she said.

She was sulking heavily but still, the words were unmistakable. She might as well have stabbed The Doctor in the back with the sharp end of his own good nature and open heart. His rage and offense, like The Girl, was inaudible, but it too was completely unmistakable.

"This is not easy for me either, " said The Doctor, looking pale and helpless to his lover.

Were she a dog, he'd have her in a muzzle by now.

"I'll speak to her, " said The Woman, as if she had the solution all along. "She misses her father, it's natural."

There were still some tiny specks of blood on The Doctor's lapel, and beneath his nails.

"Do you love me?" he asked, taking The Woman by her shoulders and pressing his nose lightly against hers so that her eyes were all that he could see. "Do you love me?" he said again.

"Of course I do, " said The Woman.

Her heart beat like a deer, staring at the tip of an arrow.

"You know I do, " she said. "I did all of this so we could be together; just the three of us. I took all the risk. I did so because I love you; because our love is unique; and because we were meant to be together."

"Then fix this, " said The Doctor, obviously meaning the insolent, ungrateful girl.

"I will, " said The Woman, kissing The Doctor's chest.

She turned back to her daughter with compassion in her eyes as if she knew that what had to be said, and what had to be done, were not at all what she wanted to do; but they were what she had to do, and so she felt despicable because of it.

"Excuse me, " said The Doctor, looking over his shoulder and unhooking his lover's firm tentacle-like grasp.

The Assistant had been pressing for his attention this whole time. As he turned, so too did his expression, and once again he looked like a man capable of torture and tyranny. He looked like an open wound or a pair of bruised and bloodied knuckles.

"What is it?" he said.

"Sorry to disrupt your…."

Her silence was mocking.

"Get on with it."

"I know where the robot is."

"Where?"

"At a bar downtown. I'm sending out The Hyenas now. It shouldn't be a problem."

"It's an atom bomb with arms, legs, and a conscious, thinking mind. Assume the worst."

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