Author : Logan Smith
Zach glanced at the time flashing in the corner of his vision. 3:58 am. Class in five hours, and he hadn’t caught a wink of sleep. He took his glasses off, setting them on their charging dock before turning back to his computer. The newest Tesla design had hit the market the morning prior.
It was only a matter of time before it hit the torrent sites. Zach swiped through a few different tabs, mindlessly refreshing the pages in the hopes that something would appear. Just before he was about to call it quits and crash for the night, a new seed appeared.
It wasn’t posted by a team he recognized but he grabbed it anyway, selecting his family’s garage printer and enabling the ‘build as you go’ option in the torrent client. Only a handful of seeders, so it would take a awhile, but the new car should be done by the time he got back from class that afternoon.
Waving goodbye to his girlfriend and promising to call her when he got home, Zach stepped off the TransLoop car. He sprinted the last block home. An incoming call appeared before his eyes just as he reached the door and he opened the chat with his girl as he fumbled with the house key. Bursting in and tossing his pack aside, he hurried to the garage, linking the visual feed of his glasses to the call.
Emily cupped her hands over her brow, trying to ward off the fluorescent glare of the tunnel lights cutting through the loopcar window. The top right corner of her field of view was filled with a shaky feed of Zach’s hallway. Didn’t look like his parents were home. She wished she’d went home with him.
When Zach stepped into the garage, it took a moment for the feed to adjust to the low light levels. Two hundred miles apart, Zach and Emily frowned in unison. The garage was dimly lit, but it was obvious there was no shiny new Tesla roadster sitting in the printer. She was about to say something about download speeds when she heard Zach yelp, in fear or pain or a mixture of both. The feed jolted and cut out for a few seconds before resuming upside down with a few of Zach and something else a few feet away.
Zach was being forced into submission by what looked like a full-sized glossy plastic version of a painter’s posing model, all cylindrical limbs and knobby joints. It was so fresh off the printer that it still had bits of plastic shavings stuck to it’s form. The robot drone model thing was zip-cuffing Zach’s hands behind his back, evidently unphased by his terrified screaming. Zach scrunched his body up and tried to push himself upright but the drone reacted almost instantly, slamming him back down and planting a knee in Zach’s back. The sudden movement triggered the old motion lights in the garage, illuminating the scene for Emily to fully witness.
Etched into the drone’s shoulders, breast, and otherwise featureless head were the letters “TESLA”. The drone rolled Zach over so he could see his captor for himself, and then it spoke.
“Zachary Marquez. You are hereby subject to detention for violation of the Defense of Commerce Act for the theft and illegal manufacture of Tesla Motors property. The terms of your detention will be defined within six to eight weeks pending case review. Please wait. You will be transferred to a Temporary Detention Site shortly.”