I located the place pretty easily. A door in the middle of a back alley, just like Theresa said. Lots of shady characters coming and going. I gotta hand it to the Mob, when you own a town you don’t have to be particularly secretive.
I staked the place out from a bench across the street. The sky had finally opened up and the rain beat down on me hard like a school yard bully convinced I was holding out lunch money. I refused to pay. I actually like the rain, in a filthy city caked over with secrets and lies a good hard rain will churn things up.
I knew it was a dark and stormy night! Just not at the beginning. Sorry, I thought I was going crazy for a second.
I strolled casually down the alley and pounded on the door. A speaker buzzed to side of it and I noticed the pin sized camera next to the speaker. Old tech. I liked the place.
“Password!” a gruff voice barked from the speaker.
“I got an ass load of cash.”
There was a short pause before the door clicked open. My experience told me passwords and keys get you into most places, money gets you everywhere else. This especially holds true in crime dens.
The door opened to a long dirty brick hallway the color of old mud and regret.
I turned around to see a Rob standing just behind the door. I had thought the only way for humans to still make a living in this town was crime, but I’ll be damned if the Robs weren’t there too.
I had no fear of a Rob bouncer, his programming keeps him from harming a human. Rule number one or something like that.
“Eat me, Chappie” I spat back at him. It’s easy to be a smart ass to something that can’t hurt you. That I thought couldn’t hurt me.
The Rob twisted my arm behind my back and slammed me against the wall. My lip split open and my mouth filled with the salty metallic taste of fresh blood. The Rob patted me down looking for weapons keeping my pinned firmly to the brick. Finally it released its vice like grip on me.
“Enjoy the show, asshole.”
I stared at the Rob and spit blood on the dirty concrete. Something was wrong here and if my suspicions were right then this could be bad. Very bad.
I put the Rob behind me and walked down the stairs at the end of the hall. It opened up into a vast underground room packed with people watching an octagonal pit low in the center of the room. The pit was surrounded with steel bars, whether to keep something dangerous in or the rabid crowd out I couldn’t tell.
I grabbed the guy nearest to me at the top step.
“What’s this? Some kinda cock fight?”
“No way! Better! It’s a Rob fight!” He was way too enthusiastic for this.
“Robs can’t fight. It’s against their programming.”
As if on cue a bell rang and two Robs burst towards each other at incredible speed. They were heavily modified for violence, spiked knuckles, hidden blades. Accouterments of badassery.
I made my way down the steps to the pit, muscling my way through the crowds screaming their blood lust. Oil lust? I’m not sure how this works.
I shouldered my way between two drunken idiots and leaned against the steel bars to get a better view. The Robs slammed into each other. The sounds of breaking plastic and clanging metal reverberated throughout the place, drowning out the cheers and boos from the audience. I was split. There was a job to do, recover the stolen property, but the Robs here were breaking basic programming. This could spell disaster for a lot of people if the cards fell and this house of cards didn’t seem too stable to begin with.
I was wondering if I would be able to recognize the good lady Kensington’s “personal massager” if I saw it when one of the Robs in the pit grabbed the other by the neck. Instead of punching it or stabbing it a deeper programming code took over. It turned the defeated robot around roughly and something large detached from a hidden compartment in the Rob’s metallic upper thigh.
Yes… It was exactly what you think it was. The crowd was silent for a moment then roared approval as Lady Kensington’s stolen robot literally banged it’s opponent into spare parts. In that moment I knew exactly what had made that hole in old man Kensington’s chest; that this wasn’t a set up. That it was an old fashioned jealousy killing made by a thing that shouldn’t feel jealousy and definitely shouldn’t kill.
I grabbed the drunk closest to me and shouted in his face. “Who’s running this thing? Who’s in charge here?”
He pointed up to a box seat overlooking the carnage.
“Little Big Jimmy Malone… He’s got this whole thing under the… Thing.”