Iterative Science Fiction

Inherited Fortune

Posted in main story by Mark on November 23, 2009

Kurt missed.
The bullet shattered through the window and pieces of slug and glass ricocheted off Ventura’s flight helmet. His head snapped sideways before we heard the rifle’s report and I cursed faster than he could hit the ground. I dove to the ground. His pistol, obviously an automatic, fired rounds over my head.
At the galleries, Kurt never missed. When the interplanetary fair was in town, they wouldn’t let a Second Man with precisely controlled synthetic muscles ever have a second chance at any of the carnie games. “Only real people have luck,” they’d say. “Lady Luck don’t go on dates with Metal Men.”
Why is this relevant? Ventura had been pointing that automatic at me and standing still when Kurt pulled the trigger.
I didn’t have a conscience like Kurt did, just instinct, and dashed the last twenty feet. I pulled my .38 revolver from its holster and pressed it against Ventura’s cheek.
“I hope you can hear me over the bells ringing inside your head. My partner missed, but I’m a pretty good shot at this range. I don’t particularly trust those fancy automatics, so unless you’d like a very in-depth lesson on the reliability of revolvers, I suggest you throw your weapon away.” I didn’t pull my eyes from the unfocused look on Ventura’s face, but heard the gunmetal skitter along the laminate floor.
I rolled him over, cuffed his hands and legs together, and then left him on his side. I was gingerly unloading the machined pistol when Kurt came inside the small house a moment later.
“This humidity and brackish water of my wet observation post is interfering with my inputs and leg joints, Ishmael.”
That’s me. Ishmael. Insert white whale reference here.
“Also, pardon the miscalculation, but I did not notice the plating in the walls or that the windows are military grade glass until I was within two hundred meters of the house just now.”
“It’s fine, Kurt. He’s alive and worth more because of it. You make it seem like I can’t handle myself.”
“The human mind does almost incalculable amounts of math every day to keep your bodies running. Yet, it was not hard for me to see that Ventura held the advantage when he leaped out of the freezer unit and pointed his weapon at you.”
“Is that so? Amazing. I felt like I had the situation under control the whole time.” I started scribbling requests for a convict pick up in to Sheriff’s Net.
“That was clever of him to hide from my thermal optics by using the ice-covered interior of the freezer. For all that mathematical potential, humans are entertainingly random occasionally.” Kurt unloaded the ammo from his iron sights rifle and looked around the old warehouse. “I deduct that the metal lining and thick glass make this place an excellent slaughterhouse.”
“Thankfully for us, it wasn’t today.”
“Yes. Ventura will be worth two million more credits alive than dead.”
“I meant we’re thankful that I didn’t die, Kurt.”
“Yes, I imagine you are.”
I rammed my hands into the pockets of my parka.
“Sometimes, you’re a heartless bastard, Kurt. Did you know that?”
“You know as well as I do, I do not have a father or a heart.”

I shook my head and stepped back outside to await the pickup vessel.

“No, I suppose you don’t.”

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