Author: Morrow Brady
“This, is a bad pistachio”
The deep southern drawl echoed against the dirty concrete walls. The voice metallic, buzzing from an aging squat robot with Investigator MkII painted in fading piss-yellow across its torso. Scraping sounded as it panned its head across the crime scene.
“A bad pistachio?” Queried the shiny new MkIX in a sarcastic British accent.
The MkII’s patinated copper face whined as it tilted upwards and contorted a searing focus.
“Murders are like pistachio nuts. Some have cracked shells that open easy and release that glorious nut inside. And some are barely cracked. They need a bit of work”
Misshapen wheels rolled closer to the blackened components, scattered across the oily floor and groaning gears sounded as it folded into a squat and continued.
“Some pistachios are sealed tight. You’ll crack a tooth opening them. With a bit of heat and time, they might crack later. Now those nuts without shells at the bottom of the bag, they’re delightful freebies” A smile pitched the voice’s tone.
“But sometimes, there’s a bad pistachio. Mischievous little varmint. Just a normal looking pistachio, tumbling out of it’s perfectly cracked shell and laying there, delicately brushed in green and purple hues with a dust thin crackly skin. Cheeky thing waits for you to chew it to a pulp until it reveals it’s true self and unloads a mouthful of rancid bitterness that horrifies your taste buds”
Worn lip plates rhythmically trembled, as it surveyed the scene and continued.
“Bitterness reminds you that any pistachio could be bad. And you should always prepare for disappointment. But after flinging another dozen of those delicious little bad boys into your gob like a carefree imp, you soon forget”
He shook his head making a dead scraping sound, studied the scene and slowly raised into a standing posture as puffs of oily smoke steaming from its joints.
“This here. This is a bad pistachio”
The elegant, gleaming MkIX processed the metaphor and snapped.
“Illuminating Sir. So what makes this a bad pistachio?”
The MKII, tottered around the workshop floor, stopping at an open sticker-covered window and leant on the sill. It noisily raised a warped arm and pointed.
An orbiting ring of unfashionable holographic glyphs highlighted a metallic purple object laying awkward amongst the debris. A glowing 3D representation rose and rotated slowly, revealing complex geometry.
“Nano-engineered. Origin unknown. Purpose unknown. Magnification reveals evidence of lateral distress and textural comparison identifies a severed edge where it had been connected to something else” Said the MkIX.
“That’s not supposed to be here”
“Indeed my shiny friend. Run your fancy new vector projection analysis”
A hologram virtual replay illuminated the room. Parts began to slide, bounce, then rise at sharp angles, all moving to a central point where they chaotically jigsawed together and suddenly froze. Remade before them, hovered a ghostly robot of diamonds facing the window. The purple object paid no part in the replay.
MkII awkwardly turned towards the window which looked out towards a shadowy yard of junk and weeds. Mutters of broken English and random pips chattered as it’s old processor crunched the data.
“If it is not part of that, then what is it?” said the MkIX, as it lifted the purple object.
“No! Don’t touch it!”
The secondary ignition from the explosive device blew the MkII through the window into the yard in a torrent of MkIX shrapnel.
MkII righted itself, levering a buckled shoulder plate back into place.
“Yeah Base. This is INVE MKII 49. Send me another Mk unit. This one just got nutted”