The phone rang dustily in the shadowed alcove of the car. I pushed a button on the dashboard. “Hello?”
The voice on the other line was frantic. “Sir, we got another case! On Park and Regent!”
I swore softly. “Again?”
“Alright, I’ll be right there.”
As I disconnected the line, I wondered, not for the first time, why would anyone make this happen. It is not natural, the way these things are constantly popping up.
I was soon there. The scene was incredible. Cars, crumpled flat, were tossed everywhere in the plaza. The streetlights were tied into knots. In the middle of it all, one of Them.
It must have been six feet tall and with a build to put any ultra-weight bodybuilder to shame. Instead of a head, an over-sized monitor display flashed images of flexing bodybuilders mixed with the occasional expletive. It walked over to a car and fell flat on it, crushing it in a single movement, then getting up and picking it up as if it was nothing. The screen went into a display of colorful symbols as the car was tossed away.
I got out of the car and walked on over to the group of people a few yards away. “Mister Hutton,” I said, flashing my badge. “Department of Cybernetic Deviations. What happened?”
One of the people shrugged. “No idea, sir. One of the tablets just went berserk.”
“That was my tablet!” another said. She looked haggard. “I was looking at my email, and the screen started to flash. Next thing, it started to grow and turn into…that!” She pointed at the creature, now in front of a glass window and posing in front of it as if it was a mirror. “It’s disgusting!”
I nodded. “Don’t worry, m’am, we will get you a replacement.”
“I don’t want a replacement, I want mine!”
“Sorry, ma’m,” I said, “but when this happens, there’s no cure.” I shrugged at her expression. “We’ll get back at you shortly to get your information.” I waved to one of the people coming out of a white van that just parked next to the crowd. “Julio, we got a number seven here.”
“Another one?” he said. He raked his fingers through his curly mop. “Damn, they’re coming out more often, huh?”
I nodded and motioned to the woman. “Talk to her, please. She’s the originator. I’ll be right back.” Julio nodded and I started to walk over to the creature.
It is never easy to get to talk to one of these. Most do not pay attention to me or anyone else. Instead, they get lost in what they are.
“Mister Hutton,” I say to the thing, flashing my badge. “ID Twelve-Alpha-Zed. Comfirm.”
The thing didn’t turn around, still flexing and palming its bulk.
“ID Twelve-Alpha-Zed,” I repeated. “Confirm!”
It turned around, the screen flashing red and green stripes for a moment before going black. <ID confirmed> it printed on the monitor.
I breathed a small sigh. Small progress. “Name ID and function.”
The screen flashed briefly to an image of a bodybuilder on stage before blanking out. <Fuck…so huge…> It raised an arm and flexed hugely, the bicep shifting to a bowling ball of brawn.
“Name ID and function!”
<You like my muscles dontcha?> The other arm flexed. <Want to worship this, dude?>
“For the last time, ID and function!”
The thing made a motion as if it was sighing and lowered the arms. <ID Six-Seven-Delta-Zero-Five> And right underneath, < Function: Fuck toy>
I nodded. “Who made you?”
I nodded again. “How do you feel?”
<Horny. Want to fuck. You like this body, right?> It flexed hugely. <So massive. Need to get bigger> It went into another pose. <Always bigger>
Honestly, this is the best conversation I had with these things in weeks. They don’t pay attention, and we’d have to provide other ways of communication.
“Can you tell me how you came to be?”
The thing was clearly struggling, trying to snap out of it. <Was not…now is…> The screen flashed a cascade of semi-naked muscular men. <Fuck! Need! Must!> It ran down to one of the remaining cars and tackled it into a flat pile of junk.
I walked back to Julio. “Same reason as the others. No idea how it was created, only motive is for sexual enjoyment.”
He shook his head. “Why would anyone want to do that?”
“That’s not the first time I wondered the same thing,” I said. I looked at the thing. “Come on, let’s get it contained.”