The Automatic Detective
A. Lee Martinez
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Even in Empire City, a town where weird science is the hope for tomorrow, it's hard for a robot to make his way. It's even harder for a robot named Mack Megaton, a hulking machine designed to bring mankind to its knees. But Mack's not interested in world domination. He's just a bot trying to get by, trying to demonstrate that he isn't just an automated smashing machine, and to earn his citizenship in the process. It should be as easy as crushing a tank for Mack, but some bots just can't catch a break.
When Mack's neighbors are kidnapped, Mack sets off on a journey through the dark alleys and gleaming skyscrapers of Empire City. Along the way, he runs afoul of a talking gorilla, a brainy dame, a mutant lowlife, a little green mob boss, and the secret conspiracy at the heart of Empire's founders---not to mention more trouble than he bargained for. What started out as one missing family becomes a battle for the future of Empire and every citizen that calls her home.
awkward, absurd. But I said it anyway, and I didn’t hesitate because I’m a bot and I appreciate directness. “I need his name,” I said. Sanchez stopped typing. He took another sip of coffee. His pink nose twitched in disgust. “Who programs these damn robots?” “Four Arms’s name,” I said. “I need it.” “Heard you the first time.” He leaned back in his chair, which in the cramped quarters was quite an accomplishment. “You’re not getting it.” We stared at each other across the office. “Somebody
Greenman snagged it telekinetically before it hit the ground. He floated it over to Grey’s hand. “Thank you.” “No problem,” I replied. Greenman nodded to Grey, who nodded back. He left to go set those gears in motion. “I suppose you think you’ve earned an explanation,” said Greenman. “What’s to explain? You’re aliens. They’re aliens. They’re up to something. You want to stop them. Am I close?” “We prefer the term Pilgrims.” “And mutants want to be called genetically enabled. But it
to work for you, you’ll make it all go away?” He adjusted the green rose in his lapel. “I can, you know. There isn’t much going on in this town where I don’t have some sway. You’d be surprised at the number of very important people who owe me favors.” “No, I wouldn’t, but I’m not going to be one of them.” I moved toward Greenman, and as expected, Knuckles tried to get in my way. He beeped once as a warning. I put one hand on his shoulder, kicked his leg from under him, and pushed him down. He
until he knew you weren’t around and made his second attempt. This time, there was no negotiation. Just abduction. He also scrounged up some drones to scrap you as a loose end. The idiot didn’t realize who you were. Otherwise, he’d have known better than to waste his time.” “Why kidnap the whole family? Why not just take Holt by himself?” “Because Ringo was an idiot,” said Greenman. “Because he thought, in his own strange way, that once the family saw he meant the boy no harm, they’d leap at
the other side and, with my servos cranked to the limit and every bit of momentum behind me, I drove my fist into the vat. I dodged to one side as unstable chemicals exploded from the pressurized container in a geyser. I wasn’t fast enough, and my left arm was soaked. The cloth dissolved away. Spray sizzled on my coat, burning dozens of holes, some as large as two inches in diameter. The demolisher caught most of the chemicals, and true to Doctor Zarg’s word, the mutagen evaporated the chassis