Chapter 14:

Chapter 14: M1 HQ

Neo-Tokeyo 199X: M1

There was a small line with a few people at the front entrance to the tall M1 building.

Blocking the front door was an extremely muscular man standing just over 5 ft tall. He was wearing a tight-fitting dark blue uniform that had a white and black checkered stripe on both shoulders. Covering his chest was an ancient and worn parasteel bulletproof vest with a large dark blue M1 stamped on it. His head was bare with no helmet or hat which drew attention to the man's lower jaw that was very shiny and completely made out of parasteel.

Arron had not seen such a bulletproof vest since the early days of his military training. In between the harsh training he had watched many classified holovids that were only allowed for military viewing. There were many hours all showing front-line action during the many years of the Troubles.

Unfortunately, sometime later those videos were lost due to the files becoming corrupt and unrecoverable.

Beside the man was a humanoid security bot that was painted to look like it was wearing an M1 uniform.

“Barty, why are you here again? This is your 7th visit this week. If it is not life-threatening stop coming here and go to the police!” said the agitated Muscular M1 officer.

“Bis, I told you last time the issue is a very big deal for me, but the police won't do anything about it for me!”

“Stop calling me Bis, use my full name damn it! If you're coming here for the same thing as last time then get lost! We have too many other things on our plate. I don't have any time to go sneaking around watching a cheating wife.”

“Bishop, please help me out here, we went to the same school together,” said Barty.

Bishop didn't say anything more and only pointed for him to leave. Barty looked at the security bot next to him and sighed in defeat before leaving.

“Next!” said Bishop as he looked at Arron who was next in line.

“You look new here. Artie, scan him and get his info,” said Bishop, ordering the security bot next to him to go into action.

The security bot stepped forward and raised its hand.

BZZT! And gave Arron a low-powered zap on the arm.

“Ow!” said Arron as he jumped back in shock. :p

“Stand still maggot!” said the security bot in a metallic voice.

“Damn it! Who messed with Artie's personality software again!” shouted Bishop as he turned around and looked at the slightly cracked open front doors.

Arron could hear muffled laughter coming from behind the door.

“This is not funny. How many times do I have to tell you to stop pulling these kinds of pranks!”

“Artie, come back over here on standby,” ordered Bishop. He stepped forward and held up a scanner that was over ten years old.

“Your SCS is at B? And you have two tours of military service? What's a royalty like you doing here with us mortals?” asked Bishop with a confused look on his face as he stared at Arron.

“I received orders to come here for my new job,” said Arron. He tapped on the wrist datapad's message icon and showed Bishop the several messages he had received ordering him to come to the M1 HQ.

“Hmm, looks legit. You can pass, just don't start any trouble. The security bots when they work are not the nicest to trouble makers.”

“What happens when they don't work?”

Bishop pointed to Artie and said, “People tend to lose a body part or two.”

Arron looked at Bishop's metal jaw wondering if that was how he received the wound.

Bishop, seeing this corrected his assumptions, “While on patrol I was shot in the face and lost my entire lower jaw.”

“Next!” shouted Artie in his robotic voice.

Arron walked up to the large front doors which automatically creaked open sounding like they needed a good oiling as well as new parts. As he passed the opened doors he saw that they were nearly a foot thick made of a cheap mixture of heat resistant and anti-ballistic metals.

Like the police HQ on the 4th level, he stood in a small enclosed entrance once the doors closed behind him. There were four round security bots inside, one in each corner of the small entranceway.

A holographic menu appeared in front of his face asking him to choose one of the options for why he had come to the M1 HQ.

He picked the [Job opportunity] option at the very bottom. For some reason, this option had a far smaller text font than the other options.

Loud clunks and whirring sounds started as the hidden locks and machines started to work. The wall in front of Arron started to lower revealing a simple security metal door. Several more clunks could be heard as the large metal bolts were pulled back and the thick security door opened.

Arron walked into an equally small waiting room which only had ten or so hover chairs which were all empty.

The parasteel walls were bare of anything but the M1 logo. The front desk was made of a sturdy para-steel with a reinforced paraglass screen from the top of the desk to the ceiling blocking off the lobby room from the front desk ladies that sat behind it.

There were two girls around 20 something sitting behind the desk. One of the girls had short hot pink hair and was chewing on some type of gum. She continued to blow large bubbles as she watched Arron standing still inspecting the waiting room.

Pop! A large bubble burst and covered her nose and mouth.

“Hey there tiger. You look new around here. You lost? Or did you come here just for me?” asked the girl who was now trying to pull the bubble gum off her face.

“Mishka, stop flirting and do your job properly. If your uncle sees you messing around like this you're going to get the both of us in trouble,” said the second girl who wore large glasses and had her black hair tied into twin pigtails.

“I'm just playing with him, Meg,” said Mishka.

Meg pushed up her glasses and started to use her floating holo-keypad to type in some information and then tap on several options, bringing up a menu that was blocked from Arron's view.

“You're Arron Wynterz, M-031-3-239019, here for the afternoon interview?” asked Meg as she looked over to Arron.

“I am,” said Arron as he showed the orders he had received.

Meg nodded her head and pressed a green holo-button.

Immediately a heavily scarred and square-jawed face of a middle-aged man appeared floating above the desk.

“What is it, Megane?” asked the man in a sharp voice.

“Chief, your 3rd-afternoon appointment is here!” said Megane quickly.

“I'll be out to get him in a second,” said the gruff chief. His head turned to look at his niece who was still trying to pull the gum off her face.

With a deep sigh he said, “Mishka, I hope you aren't causing Megane any trouble.”

Mishka stopped pulling at the bubble gum on her nose and smacked her sticky hand into her forehead, getting gum into her hair as she saluted the chief.

“Don't worry Uncs. I have taken all your lessons to heart and I am nothing but professional!”

She made for an odd sight to see saluting the chief with bubble gum covering her face and hands.

The chief couldn't bring himself to say anything and just ended the call.

A minute or so later a door to the internal mag-shoot opened revealing the scared-faced chief wearing his dark blue uniform.

On his shoulders instead of the checkered stripes, there were two braided thick strings, one black and the other white, below them was a white diamond patch. On his chest was the large badge that clearly said, [Chief Chesty Buller].

Arron could see that both his left arm and leg were metallic cybernetic prosthetics. He had seen an old news clip of the chief and knew that he had lost them during a standoff with a group of saboteurs who to this day had still not been caught.

“Follow me,” said the chief.

Arron stood quietly in the Mag-shoot as it shot up for several seconds and then began moving vertically before stopping and opening its doors to a small office that had no nameplate.

The two walked into the office and chief chesty sat down behind his desk that was almost completely covered with old equipment and a stack of different datapads.

Arron remained standing, hands clasped behind his back.

The only decoration in the room was an old holographic picture of a much younger grimmer-faced Chesty Buller without all his scars. He was wearing a military uniform that had been worn by soldiers before and during the troubled years.

Chief chesty searched through the pile of datapads and found the one he was looking for. He pressed a few buttons and started skimming through the information, but immediately stopped and looked up towards Arron.

“There are only three types of people who join the M1. Those being punished, those running from the law or some politician, and then you,” said Chesty pointing at Arron with his metal finger.

“Me?” asked Arron, confused.

“Yes, you. An idiot that joins out of their free will,” said Chesty as he stared directly into Arron's eyes.