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Flash Fiction – Automaton November 6, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: , ,

This story is part of a series.  Click Here to read from the beginning.

The past week had been a nightmare for Grimm.   There was no outward sign of the binding spell that Serenna had placed on him; the cords had become invisible as soon as the spell was complete.   But he could still feel them, winding ever tighter as he fought to break them.  He was trapped in his own mind, only able to watch as he moved through the motions of his daily routines. 

Nox had been acting strangely as well, no joking around or wild nights out on the town.  She had been tinkering at her workbench for days, barely taking time to eat or sleep.   Every attempt he had made to get her attention had failed, the most he had gotten was an odd look from her.  It was enough to make him want to howl in frustration, but the spell forced him to stay silent.

Nox pushed her chair back from the workbench and waved him over.  “Grimmalkyn, I need your help with an experiment.”

He felt himself get up and walk over to her. “If the experiment is dangerous, you should not be doing it, Lady Nox.”   C’mon short-stuff, I never call you Lady.  Please notice!  

She gave him another odd look.  “No, it’s safe. I just need a dogs-eye perspective.” 

 “If it helps to keep you safe, I will do it.”  Dammit, he sounded like a broken record, always saying ‘Stay safe, it’s too dangerous, your mother loves you.‘  He could feel the spell digging in again as he railed against having his words chosen for him.

Her face lit up in a smile, the first real emotion he had seen from her in days. “Fantastic!  So, you know I’ve made a study of auras.  You can use biometrics to trigger a device, like that bomb the Morning Lord created, simply by scanning an aura.  Works just like finger print or a retinal scanner.  Which is useful,” she says, “but I want to make machines that will be able to scan auras and make decisions based on the readings.  A-B-I, Artificial Biometric Intelligence.”  She held up a tiny, mechanical dog.  “Meet the Grimmlet, a fully automated self protection device.  Or at least, it will be when I take an imprint of your aura. You don’t mind, do you?”

“If it helps to keep you safe, I will do it.”  That earned him another odd look, and a frown.  Please, notice that there’s something wrong!  But she just shrugged. 

“The process is simple.  Here, let me get it started and I’ll show you.”  She used tweezers to pick up a tiny metal ball full of miniature gears.  A muttered word started the gears moving, and field of clear energy spun out from its core to encase it in a luminous globe.   She smiled again as Grimm leaned in close to look at it.  “That’s an actual aura it’s generating, although it’s just a blank slate.  It will take the imprint of the first person to touch it.  Go ahead, it won’t bite.  Well, not unless I program it to.”  She said, the smile turning into an impish grin. 

Grimm gingerly touched his nose to the globe, then watched, fascinated as it began to take on colors.  It changed from clear light to black swirls shot through with hints of pure gold. Was that what his aura looked like? 

She carefully popped it into the mouth of the little metal dog, and it made a ting-ting-ting noise as it rolled down into its belly.  The aura started to well outwards from every gap in the metal, growing stronger and brighter until it entirely encased the dog.  First an ear moved, then the nose twitched, then its head tilted to one side.  The tiny hinged mouth opened to let out a bark, and a miniature sound wave hit Grimm.

Grimm yelped as the wave hit him, that hurt!  Then he yelped again as the binding spell ripped off of him and arrowed across to the little dog, wrapping it in a sickly green light.

 “Hah! Got it!” Nox crowed. “What do you think of my mother?”

“She’s a pit viper.”  Grimm said, then his eyes widened in surprise.  “I can talk!”

“Sorry about the sting, but I had to make the transfer quick. Mother’s disciplinary spells are like duct tape, they hurt worse if you peel them off slow.”

 “Did she put one of those spells on you?” He growled. “If she did there’s going to be hell to pay.”

“No.  She just threatened to hurt you if I didn’t toe the line.  So I’ve been the perfect, industrious technomancer, working for the good of my House.” She smirks and points to the toy dog.  It lifted its hind leg to lick itself.  “Mother’s been using the spell to spy on your movements. That should create some interesting feedback.”  

Grimm snickered, and she winked at him. “If you liked that, then you’re going to love my new job.  I’m now the central contact for my father’s spy network.”

“You’re kidding?  Lucien went for it?”

“Father was impressed by the way I handled the situation with Kel.  We had a nice, long talk after mother walked out.  And since she didn’t stick around for the negotiations, she can’t object to anything that was decided.”

His tongue lolled out in a big, doggy grin.   “I’m liking this already. Go on.”

“Well, I’ll need to set up the right sort of place for meetings with the spies.” Nox said, pure mischief in her eyes.  “Not our apartment of course. Somewhere that attracts lots of travelers, lots of noise and quiet back rooms to meet in.  You know, like that place in the Bogart movie.” 

 “We’re going to open a bar!” Grimm howled with laughter.  “They’ll hear your mother’s scream for miles!”

“Revenge is a dish best served with a vodka martini, don’t you think?”

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1. soesposito - November 6, 2009

*grinning!* I couldn’t imagine how you were going to get Grimm out of the binding spell, very creative! Loving these characters!

techtigger - November 6, 2009

*grinz* I figured it was about time to show just what a technomancer does. And of course Nox would save Grimm, in her own, unique way 😉

2. Laura Eno - November 6, 2009

I love it! I’m so glad that Grimm was rescued. Last week ended on such a fearful note. These stories are fun!

techtigger - November 6, 2009

*hee* last week was the halloween episode, so of course I had to make it wicked 😉

3. Marisa Birns - November 6, 2009

I agree with the others. Couldn’t imagine how Grimm was going to get out of such a bind.

Grimm and Nox stories are so good!

4. Carrie Cleaver - November 6, 2009

These characters feel like friends. I love them.

5. John Wiswell - November 6, 2009

I agree, these are amusing characters. How about actually sending them to Casablanca?

6. mazzz_in_Leeds - November 8, 2009

Yay, Nox and Grimm!
I felt like I should have got some popcorn to eat while reading this 🙂

7. donnacarrick - February 28, 2010

Fantastic! You’ve got me waiting for the weekly installments now, Angie!

8. Walt - August 4, 2010

I like they are making a unified effort just to enrage the mother, she deserves it!

9. Xanto - September 2, 2010

This one was great! I love your writing! It feels so natural!

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