Artificial Intelligence
A Fan's Novel

Adapted from the film A.I. by Bryan Harrison

 

 

Chapter 5

Rouge City

1.


In the end, what had he left; this odd assortment of images and memories? Sitting in his dark office he scanned his relics. Here was one. He remembered that day, his son’s second birthday. Ellen had still been alive then. They’d been a family, close, loving. He could barely remember what that meant now. Time had taken the meaning from him and replaced with it dead-end traces of things that used to move him; tattered remnants of memories of happier times.

And next to that image was another from a time he recalled like yesterday. Even the smells came back to him: Sawdust and popcorn and the sounds of boys laughing, cheering and challenging one another. The boy had struck his first home run. His eyes had grown wide in amazement at his feat, and he ran, staring at the outfield in disbelief as he rounded the diamond. In the photo he smiled a triumphant, beaming pride.

And another… Yeah, the boat trip. Let’s see… the boy had been about five... or was it six? The man chuckled to himself as he remembered the boy’s amazement at the big humpbacks that flanked the boat and spouted before tunneling deep into the blue water. It wasn’t exactly a happy chuckle.

There were more. Much more. All of them sad substitutes for the people depicted. But they were all he had left.

He could not blame the Swinton woman for what she had done. He understood. From the first time he’d seen that familiar frustration, just beneath the surface of Henry Swinton’s face, he’d known that something like this was a possibility. He never should have told him they would destroy the prototype. Stupid! The minute the Swinton’s son had awoken from cryo, the Mecha had become a destabilizing quadrant in the family triad. He should have considered the strength of the imprinting process and the possibility of a severe attachment occurring.

She’d cried hard as she told her story and he’d been so amazed to find what things his creation had been up to; what little human-like thought patterns and behaviors it had begun to display. He wanted to fire the repair crew for not reporting the precise nature of the spinach malfunction. Damn them! It hadn’t been a malfunction at all.

And fairy tales! Fairy tales! Amazing. What had they wrought?

No, he could not blame Monica. He had once lost love so. His wife had fallen tragically at the hands of a poorly experienced and intoxicated driver. She had left him at a time when he needed her; when he was dependent on her emotional strength. It had been just he and the boy then. And that had been brief.

Only nine years later his boy had succumbed to the insistence of a merciless and systematic killer of children. A disease; a syndrome, really. The Swinton’s child had mercifully and inexplicably survived it. The man sat alone in the dark now, remembering all those years ago. He let a tear fall as he gazed on his favorite picture of the boy. He picked it up and held it close to his chest in a rare and private display of sadness.

The door to his study opened suddenly and a handful of his team walked in. He stood and wiped his face quickly. They had news? Was it good? God, let it be good news.

“We found him,” one of his men said as they circled his desk.

Was that good? “Where,” the Director asked hesitantly.

“In a Flesh Fair outside Haddonfield,” the man responded. The director’s face dropped. Oh God, a Flesh Fair? Those poor misunderstanding people… what had they done?

“Is he alive?” he asked, afraid to hear the answer.

“Yes,” the man responded quickly, hearing the urgency in his bosses voice. “He was one piece last time he was seen. He was with some rogue lover Mecha. They were headed into the forest. They had the Swinton’s supertoy with them too.”

The Director was lost for words. The joy that rushed through him was something he was not good at expressing. He held it back as he moved towards the door. But at the last moment he stopped and embraced the man who had told him the news.

The man understood and squeezed him back. He loved and respected the Director. He knew what losses he’d suffered and the importance of this project to him. They shared a quick moment of relief then they left to try and find their lost creation; their most amazing device.

As they left, the Director set the picture that he had held to his chest back in its place. It gazed now out on the dark, empty room. It was the picture he’d used to bring his son back to him. At its based it read:


In the photograph was the face of the boy he had helped bring into the world; the boy whom he had loved and nurtured when his mother had been lost; the child whose loss had almost destroyed his own heart, and who he had eventually brought back to life, as Mecha.

It was the face of the boy who was roaming the dark forests now, looking for a miracle that would make him real.

-2-

It was some time before the trio stopped running. The Mecha never tired, and they’d moved quickly through the forest, as far as five or six miles, before they finally began to walk. It had been some time since they’d heard the sound of Orga in the vicinity. The animals who scampered through the forest, and occasionally cried out, seemed to be their only company now. David had picked up Teddy when the small thing started to lag behind he and his new associate. Teddy now rode comfortably on David’s back.

Joe watched curiously as the little Orga looking robot moved forward with determined strides over the rough and overgrown terrain. He had stopped holding onto Joe’s hand miles ago and now had the small furry thing clinging to him. Joes occasional glimpses of the boy-Mecha’s face displayed a set determined look. Introspective. Orga like. Joe had no idea where the small Mecha was going. But then he had no idea where he was going either. So it seemed fitting, seeing as the little one’s strange Orga like screams and whines had effectively set them free, to follow him. Perhaps this one was good company, and knew more than its appearance implied. It was slowly dawning on him also that David had saved his life.

After some more time they came to a clearing in the forest where the night sky was visible. A milky line of stars blinked across the black infinitude above. Teddy looked up and alarm came upon him.

“I see the moon,” the bear said.

David stopped and looked up too. There it was! His eyes adjusted automatically, like an Orga’s eyes, but he could not discern any baskets of Mecha or men riding beneath this moon. Still, they’d been fooled before. “Is it real?” he asked, preparing to make a dash in the other direction.

Teddy’s head whirred as he adjusted his vision. “I don’t know David. It is too far,” he said finally.

“Is it coming?” David asked, the startling images of their adventure at the Flesh Fair too fresh in his mind; the destruction of his new friend, the Nanny, and the incomprehensible burning and exploding of the other Mecha’s.

“I can’t tell yet,” Teddy answered. They didn’t know that far behind them the Moon Balloon was already being counted as wreckage in the ruin of the Flesh Fair, and insurance claims were being calculated by a bandaged and cursing Johnson who, after the Cybertronics men had grilled him on the phone, was grateful only that he’d not destroyed the boy Mecha and brought another lawsuit on himself.

David did his best to calculate the distance of the moon. If it was real, it was very far away and nothing to worry about. If it was not, it was too close for them to tread in this direction. “Let’s not walk this way,” he said and turned. He passed the man-Mecha that had been following him. His mind was occupied. He had a quest and did not think about the other that was with him.

Joe stayed for a moment and looked at the distant glowing orb. Built to a more specific task, his distance eyes were not as good as David’s. He stared a moment more and then decided that perhaps the small Mecha was right. He turned and saw the two strange robots walking back into the gloom of the trees.

“Where are we going?” he asked as he caught up with the pair.

David did not think of them as ‘we’ but he processed the question and decided that yes, they must be together. “We are going this way now,” was all he could come up with for an answer though.

“Are you in ‘bad’ trouble?” Joe asked. What other reason would the boy be in such a hurry. “ Perhaps you are running away from someone?”

“My Mommy told me to run away,” David responded frankly as he walked.

That made no sense to Joe. “Why did she say that?”

“I guess because...” David stopped. He had been so traumatized by the event that he hadn’t really tried to understand it. He processed it now and came up with a logical solution “Because Henry didn’t like me,” he said. The alternative was unacceptable.

“Who is Henry?” Joe queried.

“Henry is Mommy’s husband.” David explained.

“So Henry is your father? And why did your father not like...”

“Henry is not my father!” David responded quickly. “Monica is my Mommy and Henry is Mommy’s husband.” He hoped that cleared things up for the man-Mecha.

Joe paced quietly beside the boy-thing as he processed this. He decided to save it for later There was upset in the little Mecha’s voice and that was something he had not heard from machines before. “And why didn’t Henry like you?” he asked instead.

“Because Martin came home,” David said weakly.

This tale was getting elaborate indeed. “And who is he?”

“Martin is Mommy and Henry’s ‘real’ son.” Speaking this aloud made him feel weak and cold inside. He was a boy! But he had to be a ‘real’ boy to make Mommy happy. “After I find the Blue Fairy,” he continued, ”then I can go home. Mommy will love a ‘real’ boy. The Blue Fairy will make me into one.”

Joe thought about this as they coursed the dark forest. As best he could tell, it made sense,. He wasn’t designed to figure such things out. He had a basic vocabulary of reasoning, which was that suited to his basic function. He was built specific. The boy Mecha’s logic was intact but there did seem to be missing parts. Anyway, he’d never heard of any ‘Blue Fairy’.

“Is this Blue Fairy Mecha? Orga? Man or woman?” Joe asked, trying to understand.

“Woman,” David answered flatly.

“Woman?” Ah, Joe thought. Very appropriate! He grabbed the little Mecha’s shoulder to slow him down. Then he grabbed David around the waist, lifted him up and sat him down on the edge of a fallen tree trunk. David did not fight this, for he knew the man Mecha to be safe, but he did find the handling to be somewhat annoying. He fixed the other with an impatient look and Teddy grumbled ever so slightly.

“I know ‘Woman’!” Joe said smiling. David was instantly interested and his annoyance forgotten. Did this robot know about Blue Fairy? As he watched, Joe stood back and nodded his head quickly to the side. Sound came from him suddenly. A man’s voice was ‘singing’. It was music! How did he do that? Teddy realized that the man was a toy too!

“They sometimes ask for me by name!” Joe said, and then David and Teddy watched as the he jumped quickly on the gnarled tree stump beside them and made a strange dramatic pose with his arm on his hip. David did not know about ‘grace’ and ‘dancing‘ but he did notice how quickly and smoothly the man thing seemed to move. David was entranced by the motion.

“I know all about women,” Joe continued. “No two are ever alike. And after they’ve met me...” the man Mecha jumped again, this time moving quickly around David to the other side of the tree stump “... No two are ever the same! And I know where most of them can be found,” he said, his eyebrows raised.

David waited for the man to continue but he said nothing. What a strange way of speaking. David did not know ‘charisma’ and probably would not have understood. “Where can they be found?” he inquired finally when he realized that was what was expected of him.

“Rouge City,” Joe replied slowly punctuating each syllable as to state the importance of this information, then he moved again and placed his hands on the tree stumps. “It lies across the Delaware!” he explained, and he lifted himself so his feet were suspended in the air. He began moving them quickly as if he were running and his legs moved so fast David could feel the air disturbed around them. “Too much of a feat for our feet. We’ll need help to get there!” Then he jumped from the tree limb and landed smoothly on the ground where he moved his head quickly, stopping the ‘music’ that had issued from him.

“And, it is not without peril” Joe added ominously, placing his finger on the tip of the Mecha boy’s nose. He moved his finger slowly so that the boy and his toy followed with their eyes, then he walked into a clearing of trees pointing towards the glowing orb in the sky, “We will have to journey toward the moon.”

David had been mesmerized by the man’s way of talking and explaining things. It was like the people in the ‘movie’ that he had watched with Mommy and Martin. Their movements were smooth and grand, different from real people. “Are there many women in Rouge City?” he asked excitedly.

“As there are stars in the night!” Joe answered with a smile.

“So many? And how will we find just one?” David asked perplexed.

“We will ask Dr Know!” Joe explained, “There is nothing he doesn’t.” He put his arm out then and waited for the boy to join him. David thought hard about this. The man seemed to know a lot about the world. David had never even heard of Rouge City. And who was Doctor No? Finally he rose and walked hesitantly to the other, who placed his arm over David’s shoulder. And they began to walk quickly towards the moon. The man had a strange bouncing gait and David looked down at his feet from time to time wondering about the reasons for this.

Joe was glad to have a destination. He was glad to have a focus and purpose. Not to mention the many customers in Rouge! After all that’s what he’d been designed for. He was also glad to be with the little Mecha, and this was strange to him. He felt something new and unusual as they walked, his arm draped over his two new companions. ‘Check’ that! Very ‘warmth’! Very... ‘friend’!

“Exactly what name do you give this woman?” Joe asked, genuinely curious, but also desiring conversation with the little Mecha.

“She is...” David thought for a moment, “she is just ‘Blue Fairy’.”

“Blue. Fairy.” Joe repeated, savoring the words. “In the world of Orga, blue is the color of melancholy,” he explained. David didn’t know ‘melancholy’ but he listened raptly to the more experienced Mecha. “Yet, the services I provide will put a blush back on anyone’s cheek! I will change the color of your fairy for you!” Joe said excitedly, thinking of the conquests ahead in Rouge City. “She will scream out in the moonlight ...oh yes... oh god... oh YES!” Joe said panting in mimicry of the many Orga women he had serviced.

David watched the man-Mecha curiously. He did not understand this at all. Teddy was equally perplexed. What good would it do to change the color of the Blue Fairy? And why would she need to breathe that way?

Then Joe stopped and opened his hands as if offering David a present. “She will make you a real boy, for I will make her a real woman, and all will be right with the world!” He looked seriously at his new friend. “Because you held my hand. And you saved my brain...” he walked backwards into a clearing as David watched, “so that once again, my customers can ask for me by name!” and then he did something quick with his feet, the puddle splashing in time with his words. “Gigolo Joe, wadda ya know?!” he said smiling.

David approached the strange man-Mecha. “Why do you do that?” he asked, looking curiously at his feet.

Joe shrugged. “That’s just what I do,” he said plainly and executed another quick movement of his feet in which David saw the pattern.

“So, they call you Gigolojoe?” he asked.

“My customers call me so, but you just call me Joe. And I will call you?”

“I am named David, Joe. And this is Teddy!” David said, happy to find someone who seemed to know the world. He reached out and did a shake with Joe. “Hello Joe,” Teddy said. He’d decided that Joe was a toy he’d not seen before. He wondered what it was used for.

“Well, it’s good to meet you too, Teddy. Now follow me you two, and don’t fall behind.” Joe turned and began to strut briskly over a fallen log and into the forest toward the moon. David followed quickly with Teddy on his back.

“All roads lead to Rouge!” Joe laughed, remembering the moniker of the city of his birth. “Don’t they just say that? Don’t they just?!” he laughed, executing a quick jump and clicking his heels together.

David moved quickly to catch up with Joe whose funny strut and strange manner made being with him exciting in some new fashion. He didn’t understand all of Joe’s words and the smooth rhythmic movements he made, but he felt safe in his company, and there was a new expectation in David’s mind. They would go see Joe’s friend, Dr No! And he would show them where the Blue Fairy lived. And then David would... he would find her and ... He smiled for the first time that night. He stepped up and walked beside Joe who laughed and wrapped his arm protectively around David’s shoulders. And the forest was a much less gloomy place.

-3-

As the trio traveled through the night, the wood began to clear slowly. Soon David could hear the high-pitched whine of motors in the distance and he saw occasional spots of light through the density of trees. Joe’s determined strut had brought them quickly to the place where the cruisers went back and forth over the long roads Orga had built to tie their cities together. They had arrived in a clearing of trees beside one of the great roads. David was taken at once by the grand expanse of open space; the feel of the wind against the receptors in the flesh of his face; the vastness of distance and the multitude of twinkling lights all across the horizon. He had always been at home with Mommy. This was the first time he had been in an area so vast and seen the night world that the Orga had created for themselves. Even in the distance it was an impressive sight. They walked for a time beside the freeway and then as fortune would have it, came upon a cruiser that was sitting still beside the road.

“You wait here, David, I will talk to them,” Joe said, leaving his new friends under the shadow of trees near the cruiser. He approached cautiously, the events of just hours ago were not, and would never be, forgotten by him or David.

Jade didn’t feel like dealing with any beggars tonight. “Damn!” he said as he caught a glimpse of the stranger approaching out of the dark of the trees. He leaned out of the cruiser. “Curt, man you wanna like.. hurry back there.” Probably a vag. “Shit!”

Bear came to life in the back seat. “Wazzup?” he asked, his curly mane of hair flopping about as he craned to see what had disturbed Jade.

“You got any change man. There’s some guy...” but then Jade caught a glimpse of the exotically dressed stranger and kept his tongue as the man walked to the door.

“Gentlemen, pardon my intrusion on your misfortune, but my partner and I have been misplaced and would like...”

“No change guy... sorry we’re just trying to get goin here if...” the Orga boy leaned out and yelled, “... my friend ever gets this thing moving!” The boy behind the cruiser ignored this, and Joe continued.

“We are not as interested in your money, gentlemen, as we are in expediting our journey.” Joe gestured to the shadows. “My young friend and I are headed to Rouge City, and if you could see your way to assisting us there I would make sure it was worth your efforts.”

“Hey, you’re Mecha! “ the fuzzy haired boy in the back seat said. Jade, who had been trying to ignore what he assumed was a beggar, looked up at the man at the window. Wow. He was Mecha; a new one too. The smoothness of its face gave it away, but not much.

“Well, we really weren’t going that way,” Jade said, but it was not very convincing. He’d heard of Rouge City but didn’t know it that well. On the other hand, Joe knew Orga boys very well. He leaned into the window.

“There are girls there in Rouge City. Girls your age who are just like me,” Joe said with a conspiratorial smile on his lips. “We are the guiltless pleasures of the lonely human being, and those just out to have some fun,” he added with a wink. As he talked the other boy came from behind the cruiser and sat at the wheel. “You’re not going to get us pregnant, or have us to supper with Mommy and Daddy,” Joe continued. He had them now. “We work under you. We work on you. And we work for you. Man made us better at what we do, than was ever humanly possible,” he said slipping a holo-pen from his pocket.

“Now, if you could manage us a ride to Rouge City, all this…” he click the pen on and an enticing holographic image of a young girl began dancing atop the head rest of the seat “…and much, much more..“ Joe shifted the pen and the image was suddenly dancing in the Orga boy’s crotch “...can be yours.” Jade’s face lit up with a knowing smile.

“Hop in!” he said without thinking anymore about it. The other boys made no complaints either.

-4-

All roads lead to Rouge indeed. And the roads to Rouge are always alive. Into, and on through the deep of night, the lights of Orga cruisers line the thoroughfares across the risen rivers into the great city and what awaits there. Driven by appetites obscure and profane, grandiose and mundane, they come. Joe had been there at his inception. He had worked alongside the best-built Mecha of his type. Lover models that made even him look cheap. Ones that worked in houses that only the wealthy could afford. Joe had loved Rouge in his own way. When he’d been sold and reissued at Haddonfield though, he hadn’t been so disturbed about it. There were women everywhere. And everywhere they were; woman, were women. He serviced them at whatever location in whatever manner they desired.

But Rouge was the main playground of his kind; the place that was built as he had been, specific to suit its purpose; the place where Orga came from miles inland and from young islands to enjoy the services that Joe and his kind provided.

Rouge was on the horizon now. The bridges that spanned the Delaware entered the city through the gaping mouths of giant statue faces; women’s faces and those of ambiguous sexuality. Their mouths held open in a suggestion of what lay ahead. Welcome to Rouge, the City that never blinks.

David sat in the front of the cruiser, between the two Orga boys. The teens were too excited to be concerned with the little boy and his Supertoy. Nor did they find it strange that Joe would be taking the boy, in the middle of the night, to a place like Rouge. They only imagined what a time was in store for them when they arrived. And the imaginings were about to be fulfilled, for they had come to the gates.

“Say ahhh...” the driver said as the cruiser raced into the gaping entrance of the great statue’s mouth. And they all joined in, “aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh”, their voices rose to a crescendo as they entered the tunnel.

All that is, except David and Teddy. They were on a mission and the boy’s mind was elsewhere. Could she live here? Could this be the place where’d he find her? The Orga boys and Joe were laughing among themselves as David felt a reminder of the loneliness that drove him.

-5-

Joe quickly dispensed of their hosts by escorting them to a place beneath the City where their interests might be served. It was a dimly lit place along a stretch of the parking corridor where young looking Mecha stood in sultry poses. This place was worked by most of the dated models, but they were fast and affordable, which Joe was sure would fit the restless young Orga’s needs. The boys didn’t give him or David a second thought as they approached the ‘girls’, and Joe chose this opportunity to make his leave.

“Let’s be on our way, and leave these young Orga to their negotiations,” Joe said, taking David by the hand and leading him quickly, back through the parking tunnels, past the holo-shows and old-fashioned film theatres that lined the lower corridors with the family style restaurants. They made their way along the main access ramp and to the escalator that lifted them into the Central Plaza. David’s processors immediately went to work sorting out the barrage of sights and sounds around him. He’d never seen anything like this! So much noise and lights and people! There was a loud booming sound coming from the walls around him. Was this music?! Yes, it seemed to be. The buildings were bathed in intense lights of various colors that changed and gyrated, and there were people everywhere, moving quickly, laughing, talking.

In one of the rooms they passed through David saw people moving in strange rhythmic gestures as they faced each other. What were they doing? He stopped and pulled Joe’s hand, pointing with a question in his eyes. Joe turned and saw what had caught the little Mecha’s attention.

“That is dancing,” he explained over the music. Then he executed a quick shuffle of his feet. “It’s just what they do,” he added when he saw that David’s confused expression hadn’t changed. “It‘s how Orga sometimes prepare for our services,” he said without explaining what ‘our services’ meant. David looked over his shoulder at the ‘dancing’ couples as Joe grasped his hand and led him away. These living things! What was it they sought?

“They also drink and ingest all manner of trendy amusements,” Joe explained, “and when they are ready for us, they come.” He stopped then and fixed David with an odd look. “Outside of that we do not mean anything to them, you know. There is our function and then there is...” Joe did not finish this thought. It was outside his processing, but it had come to him somehow at the Flesh Fair, as he had watched the rejects beaten and burnt. And there was the old silver Mecha changing the old broken lights, smashed while it did its job. Since then something had been poking up here and there in his head, something undefined but real. And when had it formulated into a thought? Wasn’t it when the little Mecha had taken his hand in the cage? He knelt beside David. “But you are not built for those reasons, are you? You know nothing of this Orga appetite save what you have seen here tonight.” He leaned closer to David and seemed to examine his face. “You are better David, for your innocence.”

David did not know how to respond or even if Joe’s statement needed response. He held Teddy a little tighter against his chest and then placed his free hand in Joe’s. “Where is your friend, Dr No?” he asked, a subtle reminder.

“That’s it!” Joe said, taking David’s hand again. “Never stray from the path. Keep the program intact!” He began his strut again, and quickly they were out on the main plaza. This place was even more of a spectacle. Above them, large holographic displays and gravity resistant signs floated everywhere, advertising the pleasures to be experienced in Rouge City. There were signs advertising ‘Puzzycats!’ and ‘Bondage!’ and a place where ‘Angels and Devils’ would amuse and be amused. David did not understand any of this, but the sheer sight and size of it kept him busy recording it all. This place was very different from the way Mommy and Henry had lived. People moved in every direction. Where were they all going?

Joe began to point out odd shaped buildings with strange glowing signs as they walked. “There’s ‘Here Kitty, Kitty’,” he said as they passed a crowded glass enclosure. On the top of the door a holograph of a woman with a tail and a cat’s whiskers ‘danced’ strangely. David did not know ‘suggestive’ and would not have understood. “That’s where the agency held my trials when I was made new,” Joe added. The images of his awakening were still clear in his mind. Information does not change Mecha in the same way as Orga; the horrific experiences of the night are behind him and now he relived his introduction to the world, remembering his first conquests and the delight of satisfying his customers.

He is still fresh. He is still Gigolo Joe. He does not think about Samantha Bevins. He does not think about his missing license. He has put aside the prospect of ‘bad trouble’ for now.

“That’s Tails,” he said, pointing to the large blue-lit building across the crowded plaza. “Very hoity-toity,” Joe added sarcastically. David did not know sarcasm. Nor did he know ‘hoity-toity’ but he was amazed at the size of the giant robot that danced in the roof display. It was dressed like Joe. The movements were smooth and rhythmic like Joe’s. It took off its hat and smiled down at the crowd as it turned round and shuffled its feet beckoning them in. The extended end of its coat swung smoothly behind it, like a tail.

“Only sunrise gents and sunset ladies there!” Joe said. “Strictly sierra class robots who have no idea how to live.” Joe looked down at his companion. “They can’t even speak English. They were all made in Sweden. Couldn’t tell a joke from a poke!” Joe laughed and then he jumped away from David and executed an exact duplication of the quick movements that the robot in the display had made. David wondered what the difference between a joke and a poke was. Then he decided that it didn’t matter. He watched Joe dance for a moment and then looked away. Joe was becoming part of it all; all the noise and distraction around him. A cold feeling came upon him. These sensations were new to him. Anger and irritation were things that his kind had not been exposed to and he didn’t recognize them for what they were. He was getting irritated at all the noise and people. They had nothing to do with him or the Blue Fairy! He was getting angry with Joe for being distracted from the quest. He had come here for a reason. Where was Dr. No? How come Joe was taking him to all these other places?

And then he saw Her.

Joe was saying something behind him. There was someone he wanted David to see, some other distraction. But David’s mind had returned suddenly to his quest. Before him, a face was looming above the throng; gentle, serene. Was it Her? She was bathed in the blue light. It was the same blue lights as Martin’s bedroom that night. Did this mean something? He walked to Her. The people parted as he passed; too preoccupied in their own pursuits to notice the little boy which they all would have assumed was one their kind.

David walked cautiously towards the figure that protruded from the wall of a building where Orga were shuffling in and out. Her face was downcast and trancelike, beautiful. She had wings! This must be...

“Are you her?” he asked the silent woman on the wall. The Statue did not respond, for it was not Her. It was not alive.

“That’s Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart,” Joe said as he stepped up beside David. He looked up at the stone face above the neon lit church. Save the cross and banner, the building was indistinguishable from any other establishment in the City. This was surely not the Blue Fairy that David sought. Joe moved underneath the statue and turned to face David. He leaned against the lamp to the entrance and, posing dramatically, for he could do nothing without style, explained the ‘Lady’.

“The ones who made us are always looking for the ones who made them. They go in, fold their hands, look around their feet, sing songs and when they come out, it’s usually me they find. For it is what I do for them that is the real reason they come here in the first place.” He paused there to let David understand. But David did not. Nor did he care. If this was not the Blue Fairy then it was time to go find her.

“I’ve picked up a lot of business on this spot,” Joe added with a wink. “Being filled with the spirit must not be enough. They must be filled by something else.” As he said this, an Orga woman exited the building. Joe watched her pass by. Yes. He was back in Rouge all right. ‘Check’ that. Analyze. Pursue. He stepped up behind the woman, and with a nod of his head his body began to sing as he initiated the chase.

“But Joe! Where’s Blue Fairy?!” David yelled as his friend pursued the Orga woman. Joe stopped short. Ah, yes... the Blue Fairy. Had he forgotten so quickly? This was more difficult for him than David knew. He was defying his basic programming, all the codes and signals in his brain that told him to pursue this woman. With a nod of his head he flicked off his music centers and turned to face the boy who had saved him. David walked up to Joe and look up at him accusingly. “What about the Blue Fairy, Joe?” he asked more firmly this time. Don’t do that again, is what his eyes said. An unspoken understanding passed between them. Joe smiled down at the boy, recrimination understood.

“That’s what we’re going to find out when we ask Dr Know,” he said putting his arm out for David to take. “That’s where everyone goes, who needs to know.”

David was here for a reason. She was a fairy whose whereabouts they had yet to learn. Joe was here for a reason too. His reason was clasping his hand now, creating new inexplicable thoughts in his single-minded processor as they made their way through the crowded place.

“Meet the good Doctor,” Joe said when they had walked some distance across the plaza. David looked in the direction that Joe pointed, and then he understood. It was Dr ‘Know’! Not Dr. No! David knew ‘know’. To ‘know’ was to have information. Surely this must be the place to find out where the Blue Fairy lived. The lit up face on the building had fuzzy hair and big glasses and its smile was wide and welcoming. David did not know ‘Einstein’. But he knew the face was aged and that among Orga, ‘age’ was a symbol of wisdom. At the door he felt a sudden surge of anticipation and he stopped. It was really happening wasn’t it? They were getting closer! He could feel it. Joe didn’t understand why David was waiting at the entrance. He looked back quizzically. Was something wrong? Then, as quickly as he’d stopped, the little Mecha’s face lit up and he stepped excitedly into the good Doctor’s office.


 

 

 

 

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