Author : Morrow Brady
I sensed the click of my empty handgun moments before I heard it, while impact shrapnel, ricocheting across the upturned chassis of my downed cruiser sang out cries of retreat.
With the soft belly of vulnerability in the air, I made my exit from the street-side exchange and vaulted over some hoarding into the nanite building site.
Site security lit up the forecourt as the smell of complex bonding chemicals grew. The incomplete amorphous apartment tower floated before me. It would be finished in a week. Nanobots never took holidays.
As I passed a stack of white pilotless fly & supply cubes, I was momentarily entranced by the pink hues of sunshine scattered through the vacuous cotton candy façade. Behind me, my pursuers rammed my cruiser through the hoarding and caught sight of me as I ran inside.
As my security clearance commenced handshakes with the Site OS, I surged deeper into the translucent building, noting the salty metallic taste of FlyNites as they merrily lazed their way through the humid air.
I ascended a stairwell lit by the fiery veins of SupplyNites discharging static. On level three, the floor was sticky with elemental adhesives and the air stuttered with the silent roar of ImpactNites. A green peripheral glow told me that Site OS was now under my control along with it two hundred million strong nanite army. I allowed a brief smile to escape.
The first pursuer, mindlessly tracking my thermals, took ten paces into the level three lobby and sank into a quicksand floor. My NanGineers had severed a single joint of each of the floor’s triangulated micro-frames. He quietened as soon as his brain mass merged with the level two ceiling ducts.
The second criminal walked through a nanite filament splayed across an open doorway. It adorned his torso like a ceremonial sash. The nanites had a simple instruction. In pairs, one either side of his chest, they would travel directly toward their partner. The victim literally fell to pieces.
My next assault was airborne, as two more pursuers inhaled a swarm of FlyNites delivering cleaning acid and floor epoxy. They fell in five breaths.
When a tall Amazonian, lured by the sound of impact bots, opened a double doorset, the handles disintegrated into a frenetic mass of DemoNites. By the time pain registered, she was incapable of wiping free the chaos. Her two shrouded sidekicks swiftly back pedalled but not before putting three in her back.
The shrouded pair closed fast. Their bulks, layered with defensive fields, repelled the airborne attacks and they kept clear of the architecture. As they crept down the corridor, the floor slab above them was severed with a deep earth crack. The tonnage, hinged on steel reinforcement, swung down to impacted their flank, sending them flying through the external HexMesh wall. My thermals tracked their limp forms as they plummeted three floors.
The final pursuer, biding his time within a darkened niche, caught sight of me as I returned to the stair. I never felt the first blade as it entered my chest nor the second that plunged deep into my side. He however felt the AbrasioNites as they transformed from my doppelgänger into an all enveloping tornado.
I returned to the street, setting my micro-army to clean up mode.
“Evening Detective” said a Constable emerging from a wall of flashing lights.
“Constable” I replied.
“All good. Nothing to see here.”