Chapter 3. Calling In

The next morning he can hear his auto-bath washing an empty tube. I must have fallen asleep on the floor, he thinks to himself...He can hear the alarm clock still beeping. His voice cracks as he manages the words to disable the annoying clock, "...I’m up..." Immediately the conveyor distributes his new boots which almost hit him in the face. He rolls over towards the bed just to be met hard by the sliding drawer with new fresh clothes. Never did Orin think he would end up being attacked by his own attire. He opens up the bed and bath, gets undressed and lays inside to go back to sleep. "Let’s try this again..." He says as he lets himself drift away. BeepBeepBeep...BEEPBEEPBEEP...BeepBeepBeep...BEEPBEEPBEEP -Routine, such a frustrating word. BeepBeepBeep “Ugh…I’m up, I’m up...” groans Orin, quieting the machine. His boots and clothes already presented, remain. The mist shower starts as the silver plastic tube envelopes him. The pressure jets dry his body as the air ripples away the water from his skin like a slow wave starting at his toes up to his blond hair. With a quick release of suction the bedding tube opens and Orin sits up on the edge. “That’s better...” he stretches his arms high above his head popping his joints and then wipes his eyes. Deep, calm, breaths. He slips on his socks and buckles his pants. Pausing as he notices the charm and chain still wrapped around his hand. Rubbing his face, he stands up and finishes getting dressed. He grabs his key card and stops. “What if I stayed this time?” he thinks... He can see the glow of Emperor beckoning to him from the seams around his door. He stands there motionless as the memories of last night come flooding back to him. "Orin...Orin! Are you there?!" "John? Oh! My com-lenses! Hang on John! Orin stumbles around searching for John’s voice. He turns over tables and checks under his supply bags. "Hold on John, I’m...just uh...There you are!" Orin grabs his lenses from under the bed. "John? Hey, are you there?" "Orin, you need to come in now." "Actually John, I um, need to get checked out...I have been functioning strangely lately... John?" "So, you’re not coming in to work your station?” “…No?” "It will pass, just give it some time...ok?" "Thanks John, I will drop by later." "Orin, be careful." "Of course!" Orin takes off his lenses and lets out a huge sigh, what now? He thinks to himself. He packs his supply bag with all the equipment to return and grabs the chain and charm and connects it around his neck under his shirt. He opens the door and sees that all the commotion has past. Everyone must already be where they belong, and here I am... "Wait, where is my Mag-Runner?!"

After a long walk he arrives at the spot where they stashed their Runners. He notices that both Julia’s and Ken’s were already gone. Hmm they must have made it down to the floor already. He steps up onto the deck and powers it on. "Let’s have some fun." Hours later Orin makes his way to the loading dock floor in time to see Ken exiting John’s office. I wonder if that had anything to do with last night... He pulls up to his post and walks around the counter to the back room to unload his supply bag, when he sees it. The P-Generator was half completed. Commander Raiz threat echoed in his memory. Quickly he checked his watch. "It’s a half past 4 in the afternoon…” he says to himself. Maybe he hasn’t come to pick it up yet...I might still have time. "Orin, John requests your presence in his office." "Ok Audi, I’ll be right there." Orin grabs the p-generator and shoves it behind a stack of crates. The crowd was thin and he knew it was risky walking through to John’s office but anywhere was better than station 9 right now.

"John, hey, you asked for me?" "Yes, please shut the door. Audi will you assign Android Rian to Orin’s post for the time being. "Sorry Rian..." Orin mumbles under his breath. "What was that?" "Nothing, what did you need sir?" "Right..." John clears his throat and adjusts his posture in his chair. "Orin I’ve trained you since your power up." "That’s correct Sir." "When I ask something of you, have you ever questioned my intentions?" "No, never John. I don’t think I understand what you mean...if this is about last night..." "Last night? Do you know about what happened last night Orin?" "What?" Both were silent, waiting for the other to speak first. "Let me finish Orin." "Yes Sir." "What I need from you is...well, first...are you functioning properly?" "Yes Sir, you were right it passed. I feel great." "Good, well what I need is a shipment of Crates to be taken to the far west bay, the one past sector 42." "On the other end of the station? No problem. May I ask why Gram isn’t running the shipment?" "I have Gram running another errand for me at the moment." Orin nods his head and stands up to leave. "Orin?" says John. "What we do is important, I’ve always done my best for us." Don’t worry John, The Machine Mind and the Hunters will find a soul for all of us! They will get the last of those Humans!" John replies with a nervous nod and Orin leaves the room. Pushing a button on his desk John whispers, ”Peter, it’s time..." "I heard everything John. Thank you for your service old friend."

"I’m sorry Commander, I can’t seem to find it in the proper location." "Android where is my p-generator? Where is the Orin? Where is that walking pile of spare parts?!" Commander Raiz’s powerful roar blows Rian off his feet, back inside the supply room and bursts through some crates. "...Here it is..." mumbles Rian from the mess. He hobbles out and places the Generator on the counter. "This is wrong. It not completed Android..." Rian braces for another barrage of bad breath when he sees out of the corner of his eye Orin in the distance driving a crate transporter. "There Commander! Orin is headed down the west corridor!” Commander Raiz brushes the p-generator off the counter onto Rian pinning him on the ground. "Finish fixing it Android. I have business to tend to." Orin fiddles with his zipper as he drives down the straight hallway. "Bay 41...almost there..." He glances at his mirror once more. "Yep, still there..." A creature as big as Commander Raiz did not have much skill to stalk unnoticed. He figured that as long as Orin hadn’t turned around, he didn’t know he was being followed. On the contrary, Orin had been frantically formulating a plan since Bay 3.   

Next Chapter: Chapter 4: Mystery Man