Tokyo Photographs 2015

I recently visited the amazing city of Tokyo. Here are some images. (click on image to see large version)

tokyoRain
Rain in Shibuya

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Cafe Couple

Photo Oct 27, 12 13 02 PM
Tokyo Tower

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Akihabra

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Akihabra, Blade Runner Style

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Laputa! Ghibli Museum

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Green Tea Cream Taiyaki

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Harajuku Milk Tea

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Subway Line

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Endless Vending

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Breakfast at Tsukiji fish market


Blue Light

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Blue light
Falling downward
Soft
Clouds of light
Passing through
Passing out
Dreamscape has not come
Nor will it ever
This is the nightmare land
But here is where we roll
This out place
These nights
These shadows
We were cast here
Cast off
But we’ve made it our own
Made it our home
In the dark
Just above the light
In the shadow
Just behind the glow
This blue light
Our space
And you…
Just a visitor
So keep those eyes down
Know your place
As we know your face


Attack of the Mega Shredder written by Gavin Hignight

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Fellow Mutants! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Attack of the Mega Shredder” aired on August 16th 2015!! This episode of the Nickelodeon series was written by Gavin Hignight. Keep an eye out for it on Nick or online! Booyakasha… or maybe even COWABUNGA!

Screen shot 2015-09-03 at 10.24.04 AM


They put perfume on the air

perfume

They put perfume on the wind
And smoke on the horizon
Industry
People
Life
A cart in the street
A cat in the street
Brick
Roads
Path
Something on the wind
A place
A person
A time
It is sweet
Sometimes bitter
This place
Where they put perfume on the wind


Smoke Stacks

smokestacks

     The smoke stacks were always there. Even if your back was to them, even if you weren’t thinking about them they were there. They stuck right up strait into the sky. There were four of them. Typical paint job of faded red stripes. They, like everything else in the neighborhood looked warn and ugly, if you could even call it a neighborhood.
     Johnny hated this place. He had only lived here two weeks but he hated it. He knew he’d hate it even before he got here. And now that he was here and knew something about this new home he really hated it. For starters there were no more kids besides him and his brother in the small trailer park. After that was the fact that there was nothing outside the trailer park except an industrial area and what looked like truck stops. Nowhere fun to go hang out, not like where he used to live. And the absolute worse is that he wasn’t allowed to wonder far because his Uncle had told his mom it was dangerous with the fast passing trucks and Commuter trains.
     Johnny really hated those trains. Sure the neighborhood they used to live in was kind of noisy. With the other families living in the apartments next door and the guy who would come every morning and honk the horn trying to sell fruit. But this was a different kind of noise here. For starters it was almost too quite for Johnny. It was kind of creepy. He would never let on to his brother, as not to be teased any more than normal but it was much more dark out here on the outskirts of the city and the silence was something Johnny wasn’t used to. And the times right when he thought he was about to fall asleep one of those damn trains would come cutting through the night. Sometimes it would even shake the trailer from the ground up.
     His brother didn’t seem to mind the new neighborhood as much. Maybe it was because he was a little bit older. Johnny was twelve now and his brother was fourteen. Johnny would lay awake in his sleeping bag and look over to his brother whenever one of those damn trains would come through late at night. His brother would sleep right through it. Their last house was the first one Johnny could remember living in. His brother would talk about a house they lived in when Johnny was just a little kid. Maybe that was part of the reason that he brother didn’t mind the new home he was getting used to this moving around.
     Johnny’s mom had made the decision to get away from the man she was living with. She caught him one too many times doing things he shouldn’t. Johnny couldn’t really understand everything that was going on but knew the arguments were fierce behind the closed doors. His mom would always close the door before she really got into an argument with her boyfriend. Later she would tell Johnny and his brother that she didn’t want them to have any kind of bad example on how a man should treat a woman and that’s why the door would be closed. She would tell them that she wanted them to grow up and be good boys and that they weren’t going to learn that from the loser she was dating.
Anyway, after a really big fight about something, Johnny’s mom came out from behind the closed door with tears in her eyes and informed him and his brother they would all be going to live with his Uncle for a while until she could get her own place. And that was it.

     Not that Los Angeles proper was the cleanest place. Even at the age he was Johnny knew he lived in a large dirty city. But it just didn’t compare to how dirty he thought where he was living was. Across the train tracks from them was a big power plant. Crowding the sky from it were those damn smoke stacks. Somewhere in the area was some kind of feedlot and its smell wasn’t the best.
     It took forever to get from where they were living to their school. Johnny’s mother or Uncle would give them a ride to school in the mornings and usually his mom would pick them up in the afternoon. The ride two and from school was a real drag for the past two weeks. Johnny never got to sit in the front and was quite partial to getting carsick. His brother never let him sit in the front seat. And sometimes his brother would sit in the back seat just to torment him on the ride home.
School itself was no fun. All of his friends were disappointed that he left the old neighborhood. They just didn’t understand why he left. And the times they did listen they teased him for being “all po and ghetto like dat” having to move in with his Uncle. They weren’t bad guys though. Johnny missed getting to hang out with them after school. He tried to talk his mom into letting some of the guys come visit but she said she didn’t want to put his uncle out like that. She also said that he and his brother should do their best to keep the trailer clean to show appreciation to their for the place to stay.

     The power lines and electrical boxes looked black with the sunset sky behind them. It was a Friday and they just got home from school. Johnny’s brother borrowed some kind of new game from a friend at school to this Friday night was starting to shape up. Johnny followed his mom outside to say goodbye to her as she prepared to get in her car and leave for work. Ever since they moved out from their old place she had been putting in extra hours at her old waitress job. Johnny waved and she drove away.
     He didn’t feel just like going into the cramped trailer just yet. He just hung around outside by the curb looking at the sunset. The colors were really vivid behind all of those damn power lines. Those wires, poles, and boxes littered the whole skyline. Still, the colors looked magic behind the entanglement of wires. Johnny stood there for a long few moments. He leaned up against an old telephone pole and just felt then last heat of the setting sun soaking in to his dark skinny arm.
     Then he heard something. A loud metal clang and then some voices of some men. It was coming from behind the fence. Johnny knew that on the other side of the fence was an old motel and diner that was painted all crazy. When they first moved in he was excited thinking that the pool that belonged to the motel actually belonged to the trailer park. He was wrong of course. But, right now that didn’t matter. Right now he was more intrigued with what these men were doing.
     Johnny carefully made his way through some bushes and under one of the other trailers. He crawled halfway up the old wooden fence so he could see the other side. On the other side there was a large white truck and pick up with a black trailer. The men were unloading some kind of lights and a generator from the truck.
     Like many young kids growing up in Los Angeles Johnny knew what these men were doing. They were here to make a movie or TV show. This Friday night was really shaping up he thought to himself. Johnny hung on the fence and continued to watch. They were unloading power cables and big metal stands. Then something emerged from the black trailer. Slowly some kind of hot rod came down the ramp and onto the ground.
How exciting! Johnny was beginning to think that nothing cool or exciting ever went on out this far from the city. He decided to go find his brother. He thought to himself, “There’s no way he’s going to believe this.”
     It took Johnny a while to coax his brother away from the TV and the newly borrowed video game. His brother was very into his video games, maybe that’s why he didn’t mind the recent move as much as Johnny. His head was always in the video games. What strategy guides did he need, what cheat codes, how many ways can he beat a certain game. With all of those concerns maybe he didn’t have room for others such as where they were living.
     Johnny’s brother got to a point where he could pause and save the game and then they were out the front door. Johnny didn’t know if they were supposed to even go as far as the Motel but knew that with his brother and the clout that came with his two more years of age that they would be fine.
     The look of excitement didn’t exactly jump up onto his brother’s face as he’d hoped it would. Johnny couldn’t believe it. The lights, the cool car, the entire environment was exciting. His brother must have had a screw loose or something. Maybe he burned his brain out on the video game.
     Johnny was determined to find out what was going on over that fence. He made the decision to go around. He wanted a closer look. What could they be making? An episode of one of his favorite shows, maybe a big blockbuster of a movie? Maybe one of his favorite movie stars was just moments away from an arrival in a limo or something.
     His brother caught up to him and then moved forward to lead the way. He wasn’t about to let Johnny get the credit for any great discovery’s they might find. As they came around the corner they found more people who were working in the front of the diner. Now his brother’s face finally lit up with some excitement. Sitting in front of them was a beautiful woman. She looked like some big movie star sitting there cuddled up in her big white robe smoking a cigarette. A man was applying make-up to her face and she was having a conversation with some other woman who was sitting there. The group looked up at Johnny and his brother.
     They couldn’t have had a better luck. The beautiful woman wasn’t anyone famous (They found that out after asking her). She was just a model. And it wasn’t some big blockbuster of a film it was just some magazine that was shooting pictures. So no car stunts, no explosions, super and or action heroes, just a magazine shoot.
     It didn’t matter though because the beautiful woman also happened to be nice, and so did the other people working on the job. After a few questions asked of Johnny and his brother about where they were from they were invited over to some kind of food table and offered some really good chocolate cake and a soda. The sun was now down and Johnny and his brother had to get back to the trailer quickly before they got in any trouble. They took one last look at the car and beautiful girl and were on their way.
The two boys got back into their cramped little home without any problems. Their Uncle had fallen asleep and their mother was still at work. Planted in front of the TV and the video game they just played for a while conversing rather politely to each other about the car they had just seen and all.
     Then the two boys got an idea, they made an agreement not to mention the motel or the photo shoot they had just seen. They would wait until later, way later and sneak back out to watch some more through the fence. This was the only exciting thing they’ve seen out here in the past two weeks and they just weren’t going it pass without fully taking advantage.

     The video game helped pass some of the time. But it just didn’t hold the same merit it had before they knew of the photo shoot going on behind the trailer park. Johnny’s brother kept going on and on about how pretty the girl was and how he would bet that she would some day be really famous and then they would brag to all of their friends of how they saw her in person.
     Johnny would go on and agree with all of the things his brother was saying about her, even though he was a couple of years younger and probably didn’t understand all of it.
     Their mother came home a little more early than usual. This was good. They hoped she would in turn go to sleep a little more early than usual as well. They’re Uncle had left the house a couple of hours before. He told them he was going to go have a drink with some friends from work. He then teased them that he was going to a strip bar and they could come along if they like. They both liked their uncle sometimes.
     It seemed like he was always in a bad mood right after work but for the most part was pretty nice to them. He even offered to take them to a movie or something some weekend.
     They were in luck and they weren’t. Their mom did fall asleep early which was good. The bad part is that she was so tired that she fell asleep in the front room in front of the television waitress uniform and all.
     They agreed they would have to use some stealth. They loved using that word. They had learned it from the stealth bomber and whenever applying it to themselves felt cool. Both of the boys put on their hooded sweatshirts. The shirts were dark navy blue and had hoods in case they got cold.
     First the older brother peeked around the corner to see if their mother was still asleep. She was. It was now or never they thought. They would head out just for a little bit and then come back before anyone could get worried. Slowly they made their way for the door. Johnny’s brother very carefully moved the handle to its side. Good. No noise from turning the old thing. As Johnny moved up close behind him he slowly opened the door. It made a loud CREAK as only and old metal piece of junk would.
Both of their heads jerked toward their sleeping mother to make sure if they were busted or not. She moved slightly. With that they both went as fast as they could out the front door and down the makeshift steps. Damn door. The important thing is that they were out. Maybe the noise from the TV inside helped them out.
     Their neighborhood seemed dirty and desolate even at night. The air had a snap of cold to it and an orange tint hung in the low clouds from the lights at the power plant near them. The black of the sky was so orange that Johnny could still see the power lines in front of it as well.
     It was dark out here. For a brief second Johnny was creeped out. He knew they weren’t supposed to be out. He felt exposed in this unfamiliar area. It didn’t smell like the city and it didn’t sound like the city. The only welcoming sounds were those of the men on the other side of the fence working.
     As the two brothers approached the fence the bright lights behind seemed more prominent. Only now they could also see hints of neon that were lighting up the old diner as well.
     They were as silent and careful as they could be coming up on the old fence. They searched the fencing for and area that had some good knotholes to look through. They didn’t want to get caught from climbing up on top. The voices of the people working seemed to just be feet away. They were having no luck finding a good knothole. The voices of the crew working continued as Johnny and his brother searched for a view. The voices were pleasant. These men sounded like they were enjoying their work.
Johnny and his brother silently agreed they would have to look over the fence very carefully and quietly. They found where they though the best view would be and they prepared to look over. Every now and then the area would flash from one of the photographers big camera flashes.
     Johnny and his brother put one foot each on the middle plank of the fence stretching their young arms the top plank. Then stretching their small fingers on the plank they pulled themselves up. Johnny’s head peeked over the top and he couldn’t believe what he saw. It was such a shock that he actually fell off the fence backward into the brush barely catching himself.
     That beautiful girl from before was now completely naked. She was posing in front of the car and she was naked. Johnny’s brother looked as though he were about to squeal of burst.
     Johnny stood there for a moment with the vivid image of that naked girl flashing through his head. He had never seen a naked girl before. And especially one like that. He didn’t know what to do. He felt half excited and intrigued and half like he was about to cry. It was kind of a shock. Kind of like a small part of his innocence just went away.
     Another flash illuminated the area. Johnny and his brother were shielded from view by the fence. Johnny looked up at his brother who was still watching intently. Johnny couldn’t believe this. A real live naked girl. He had seen girls in bikini’s at the beach before bit this was different. And that girl was so beautiful. He decided to climb back up on that fence and get one more look. He planted his foot, pulled his arms, and popped his head up one more time.
     There she was still there. Still naked. Her body ever so slightly illuminated by the lights the men had set up. Johnny got a real good look at her, her legs, her chest, he had never seen anything like it. His heart raced and he felt guilty and sick all at the same time.
     Another flash went off. It was enough to scare him and his brother down from the fence for a second. As they got to the ground Johnny’s brother grabbed him by the arms shaking him with excitement and trying to hold back laughter. In turn Johnny was now trying to hold back his own laughter.
     They couldn’t believe it, these people were shooting some kind of naked magazine and now Johnny and his brother got to see it. Maybe this was better than some big blockbuster movie or TV show.
     Johnny and his brother sat a few moments in the dark and got up the nerve to crawl back up on the fence. The girl now had her robe on and was standing in front of some kind of gas heater. She looked more familiar in that robe and Johnny felt kind of guilty for having seen her naked. He couldn’t believe it he had seen her naked.
The two boys hung out for a while longer while the men continued shooting. Johnny didn’t crawl back up on the fence. Part of it was out of him trying to be respectful to the young model, the other part was out of him trying to preserve that first image he had seen of her. He’d never forget it.
     The men broke down the lights and started packing everything up. The Motel, the diner, and the trailer park seemed much darker once they and their lights were gone. Johnny and his brother sat on top of the fence and reminisced to each other about what they had just seen. His brother boasted to him that not even his older friends had ever seen anything like that and now Johnny as well as him were more manly than any of their friends.
     Johnny was now a little more past his initial shock and slightly proud himself. He looked out at the power plant and smoke stacks that loomed in the distance. They haunted the night sky even now. Slowly and silently red lights blinked at the top of each column. None of the guys in the old neighborhood would ever believe they saw something like this. He continued watching those smokestacks. Maybe this wasn’t going to be such a bad place for them to live after all…


Stumble Upon Approach

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We stumble on approach
In the dark
Just past the ravine
Of Time
And of consequence
Beat beat beat
It goes on and on
Lost tribe
Lost soldier
On the plains
A Mystic
A touch
Beats
Grey Skies
Coming down all around
Again
Again
And Again
We shout
Into the void
Into the dark
Past Barbwire
Past Ourselves
Past self
Dark Spaces
Come For me
Hauntings
Teachings
Lessons in this
The void
The night
The plains
War just beyond
Thunder as shells hit the distance
Thunder of man
Thunder of time
Then a silence
All around
A raindrop
A damp ground
A lost soul
On that battlefield
Of dark spaces
Lost faces
And lost times


City Centre

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City centre
We exist on the outskirts
A tower hangs near
In the city centre
A mass of buildings
A mecha
A place of stories
Their stories
For we are held on the outside
Touching the same sky
As does the tower in the distance
It haunts us
Haunts me
Memories there
Of another time
When we’d gotten inside
Not only of that place
But each other
And now we haunt different zones
Regulated to a quarantine
Self inflicted
We stand on the outside
Outer zones
Looking in at that centre
And it’s towers
A place no longer allowed to go


Collection Box

Collection Box

Collection box
Times of old
Times spent
In silver
Black and white
Torn with edges
Sometimes just torn
Innocence on her face
She gathers herself
Strangers watch
They prepare coins
For her collection box
For time travel
For a universe before
She sits, legs crossed
At the café
Somewhere in time
Maybe now, maybe then
Maybe not
Maybe nothing
But her
Her time
Her thoughts
And her collection box


NIGHT by John Carpenter Music Video directed by Gavin Hignight, Ben Verhulst

From the album LOST THEMES by John Carpenter on Sacred Bones Records comes the song and video NIGHT. Produced and Directed by Gavin Hignight and Ben Verhulst.


Paris 90

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     With no other option left, and with a back up unit at least five minutes away, Lieutenant Charles Dubois reluctantly knew it was time. He had hoped that it wouldn’t be necessary to use Unit 40 that often, on his first day in the field no less.

     Crouched in the rear of his vehicle he activated the release. With the most distinct of metallic noises Unit 40 unfolded from his transportation mode, docked with the rear of the police cruiser. The back-end of the vehicle instantly raising a foot once relieved of Unit 40’s massive weight. The unfolding process quick and to the point. Within moments what was an awkward mass of mechanical limbs hanging from the back of the vehicle detached, unfolded, powered up, and took the form of what could be described a very tall metal man.
     Since France was one of the last countries to utilize the drone program, and since Paris was one of the last police forces to use the machines, a crowd of onlookers was inevitable. People shouted in excitement. Charles had seen this all before, he had trained through numerous unloadings with the drone, and was less impressed. Besides, his mind was on other things, he wouldn’t be activating the drone if it weren’t a dangerous situation.
     “I need everyone to clear the area!” He shouted over the mechanical sounds and street noise. “I need everyone to clear the area immediately” He continued. No one was listening to him. Instead, they were watching in marvel the first of these new police machines they had heard so much about.

     The sound of gunfire changed this slightly. Charles spoke into his wrist-com, “Unit 40, activate cog one.” This is the command that gives life to the machine, the command that gives it self-awareness and reason.

     With a flash in the robotic eye the drone turned to Dubois. In a voice both spoken through an external speaker, and also relayed through the wrist-com the drone spoke to him for the first time in a real field situation.

     “This is not a drill or test, Mr. Dubois?”

     “Affirmative Unit 40. First task, crowd control!” Charles couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t believe he was talking to the machine like it was a coworker, and he couldn’t believe that a small part of him was relieved to hear that familiar voice he had heard so many times training.
     A block away a small gang of young men had cornered themselves in a stoop after firing on an officer. Dubois didn’t know much more. The radio call had gone out, it was a random stop and search, the officer had noted that these were suspected gang members, and then a shot, and radio silence.

     It was just moments ago when Charles was driving down Rue de la Paix, his work day almost over. He would soon be home and the drone and its host vehicle would be in night storage, plugged-in recharging. A few minor incidents for the day, a few tickets issued. Nothing that he needed backup for, nothing that constituted just what he was about to head into.
     Since the worldwide economic collapse, the larger cities such as New York, London, Berlin, and Paris had witnessed unparalleled gang violence orchestrated by older men with eyes toward business, often soldiered by young violent men who didn’t know any better.

     The idea behind the drone program was simple: save police lives, while also placing more firepower on the streets. Unit 40 was no exception. He stood at least seven and-a-half feet tall. His shoulders were about four feet across. The machine had a cold metal finish and a blank imitation of a human head. The form of a human, coupled with the movement of coy insect or spider. Unit 40’s motion was rather graceful for such a large machine.

     Unit 40 turned toward the squad transport, the crowd of onlookers still hovering nearby. He activated his external speakers.

     “Evacuate the area, evacuate the area.” This automated message continued three more times in at least three different languages. Some of the people near dispersed. Others, more curious of the machine, just backed off a bit.

     “Unit 40, lets move in,” Dubois shouted to his partner. There was no need for his raised voice other than his excitement of going into a potential gunfight. The wrist-com on his sleeve not only recorded the entire incident for police records, but also relayed all of his commands to the drone–whether it was in operational mode or plugged into the transport.
Dubois secured his helmet, and removed the safety on his pistol. He moved forward, as did the drone behind him. Another shot rang out into the air, followed by shouting. Dubois glanced back at the drone, “Unit 40, take lead, walk me up the street and provide cover.”

     In an instant the drone was walking in front of him, providing a moving wall of limited safety from oncoming fire. As they made their way forward Dubois glanced down at the drone’s feet shuffling across the cobbled Parisian street. It was ironic to see these shock resistant hyper-polymer feet stepping across the ancient stones, the small inter-moving treads compensating for loose spaces between the bricks. Old and new, both built by the city, at one point or another.

     A shot rang near, bouncing off the drone’s right shoulder. Dubois snapped back into the moment crouching behind the machine, just as it released its rifle from a storage clamp. It aimed toward the assailants–an automatic response programmed into the drone once it is struck by gunfire.

     Dubois had a flash of worry that the drone would overreact.
“Scan for hostages!” Dubois shouted at the machine. It stopped its forward motion and studied the street, the stoop, and the men. It scanned for any heat signatures not holding some type of metal.

     In an instant, months of training with Unit 40 flashed though Charles Dubois’ mind.
He thought of the first day he went down to AI storage after volunteering for the program. He thought of his reasoning for picking this drone over the others as well as his reason for moving into this new branch of the force.

     Dubois had been a cop for almost fifteen years. He had seen two partners come and go. One was killed in the line of duty; the other forced to leave the department over some dishonorable acts. Dubois had seen his beloved Paris become more and more violent. And he had grown disillusioned with his day-to-day routine. “So why not drive around with this big hunk of metal–at least this way I’ll never have to worry about losing a partner again.”

     Dubois remembered back to the first time Unit 40 qualified for weapons discharge. There was controversy over the idea of giving one of these things–one of these machines–a weapon. The first morning Dubois and the drone trained for weapon firing he had to cross through a crowd of protestors in front of the police complex, he had to endure people on and off the force criticizing decisions that weren’t even his. He was just a soldier doing his job, as was the drone–even though the drone decimated the target platform that day including what would have included marks for two hostages, three assailants, and small automobile.

     Unit 40 assessed there were no innocents in between the assailants and his line of fire. The drone raised the rifle. An onslaught of bullets and shouts came from the doorway where the young men were held up. They were using automatic weapons and apparently terrified by the appearance of the drone. It seemed unstoppable as it calmly took its time aim–even though under fire.

     Then Dubois spotted something. On the ground, trying to slump away, was one of the wounded officers from the earlier confrontation. Instantly he darted to a doorway himself. He was in the front of a sex-shop; the block had quite a few. Behind him was metal grating covering the glass door. Apparently those inside were afraid of the ruckus spilling into their establishment.

     As soon as he was covered by the doorway he called into his wrist-com to the drone, “Unit 40, I’ll lay down cover fire, make your way forward about twenty feet, recover the downed officer. Carry him back to a safe distance from the targets.”
An automated voice rang out over the speaker, “Affirmative.” The drone straitened up, hulking its way toward the fallen officer.

     Taking a chance, one of the pinned-down hoodlums in the doorway opened fire on the drone. The bullets bounced off, the back being equally as armored as the front of the machine.
Dubois took the chance to fire a carefully aimed shot. His bullet struck the young man somewhere in the leg. The leg just came out from under him, as it had carried his weight. He hit the ground with a thud and a scream, as his assault pistol popped out of his hand. More bullets rang out from his companions.

     Now, the bullets weren’t aimed at the drone, they were raining down on top of Dubois’ shabby location. The pink and blue neon that lit the front of the shop was shattered by stray gunfire. Charles had to duck further into his cover as the bullets sprayed around him.
A round tore up his arm and through his wrist-com. It stung like holy hell, like a burn and a cut at the same time. His arm was a mess of blood and a few sparks. But it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as his quick realization that he was now cut off from the drone. He was now cut off from his “Partner”.

     Charles grabbed the metal grating of the sex-shop door with his good hand. He shook and rattled the door pleading to be let in. More bullets struck close by. Charles could see faint movement behind the counter inside, someone who was afraid or unwilling to let him inside into further protection.

     “And where was that damn robot anyway?” he thought to himself, “Was it standing at the other end of the dead radio just awaiting further instructions, or was all that money and training they had put into the AI going to save him now?”

     Another bullet struck nearby, some shouting followed, he returned some blind fire around the corner. A flash went through is mind of his morning before coming to work, of sitting at the café with his wife, pleasantly arguing about the vacation they never seem to take. Would that be the last breakfast with his lovely, annoying wife?

     The young men were changing positions. He’d soon be in real trouble.
Signal lost. Radio silence. Unit 40 made this realization the microsecond it was fact. The drone also snapped forward into its next protocol a fraction of a second later. It moved into what was called “Cog 2”. This level of intelligence for the AI meant that it was now fully capable of making tactical decisions and judgment calls.

     Unit 40 set the wounded officer near their parked squad transport. With no effort he beamed a signal to the antenna array in the car. The signal would in turn be relayed to the nearest hospital that officers were down, and to send ambulance services immediately.

     Then with crashing steps of metal and rubber on concrete the drone made its way back to the firefight. It came around the corner, registering that the assailants were now moving into different positions. In a fraction of a second the drone calculated a new game plan and raised its rifle from its ground trained safety position.

     Mark four-six-eighty degrees. A quick mathematical equation and one shot fired. The rounds that Unit 40 had switched to at Cog 2 were called Slicer rounds. Slicer ammunition is not meant for bringing back targets whole or living. Under the assumption that his partner may be dead or dying the drone made the choice for this brutal ammo.

     One clean shot and the micro-wire slugs tore the hoodlum cleanly in half.
Charles Dubois struggled to take steady aim holding his pistol with his torn-up arm. The young thug was advancing on him ready to gun him down while he was helpless. At this point Dubois heard the unmistakable sound of his automated partner running up and the firing of what sounded like a Slicer round. What was left of the young punk fell before him.

     The third member of the party turned and ran the opposite direction of the drone once he saw the devastating blast that had cut down his friend. The drone turned to take aim, then ceased realizing bystanders were in the area.

     The young man that Dubois had wounded lay on the street writhing in pain. Unit 40 hulked over to his location securing the firearm that lay near. The drone then made its way back over to Charles. As it reached him it ejected a small medical kit built into one of its legs. The large machine snapped its rifle back into its clamp and then removed a cold press from its med-kit.

     “I am pleased to see you are conscious Mr. Dubois. I will place slight pressure on your wound to slow the bleeding.” The generic voice called though its front directional speaker.

     There he was, being taken care of by this large bulk of a machine. Dubois still wasn’t sure he liked this. He wasn’t sure it felt right. For a quick moment he feared that the large mechanical hands of the drone would crush his arm while trying to slow the bleeding.

     “Thanks for, uh, thanks for getting to him before he got to me.” Charles said to the huge man-like machine in front of him. Its cold, black, near-human face stared back at him silently and blankly. One of the lenses in its upper right temple adjusted.

     “It is in my programming Mr. Dubois, you are my partner.”
     They had gotten to him in time. The officer was now being loaded in the ambulance and would recover. Charles Dubois stood at the edge of the street drinking from a plastic water bottle. His arm had been patched up by a field technician and he was going to be fine. He stood there, listening to the sound of the sirens as the ambulance sped away. Before him, red, blue, and yellow lights reflected off the damp street and the reflective surface of the drone. It stood silently near the rear of the vehicle having just stood down to Cog 1. As soon as the coroner van was finished and the area was clear, it would fold itself back into transport mode, reconnect with the vehicle, and transfer its awareness to the terminal in the front of the vehicle.

     Dubois would stop by the hospital, get double-checked for his arm, and maybe take a day off. He couldn’t help staring at that large machine in front of him. He marveled that something made of metal, plastic, and programming just saved his life. Maybe he’d take a day trip with his wife tomorrow. He owed her at least that.

     ROOOOAARR! The sound of an out of control car and revved up engine filled the air, followed very quickly and disturbingly by the sound of a CRASH and broken glass. A small passenger car had just slammed into Unit 40 at top speed. The legs of the drone were knocked out from under it as it’s head and its torso snapped awkwardly across the hood of the car.

     The moment was over as quickly as it started. There was a silence as the shocked crowd on the street realized what had just happened. Then Dubois heard one of the most eerie sounds that had come in his career. The sound of broken automation as the damaged drone struggled to check its surroundings.

     “What in gods name have you done?” Dubois shouted, rushing over to the mess of car, smoke, and machine. Dubois flung the car door open, pulling out the driver, an elderly man, ranting hysterically about machines not having the wrights to police over man. “What in gods name have you done?” Dubois said coldly in his face. The old fool continued sobbing that man had finally gone too far, giving authority to machines.

     Disgusted, Dubois let go his hold on the man and rushed over to the fallen drone. Unit 40 now lay on the ground, parts of it twitching, hydraulic fluids spilling to the street below. The lenses in its face-plate staggering, clicking and moving at random.

     Charles Dubois locked the old man in the back of another squad car. He then called in a clean up crew to the site. With some effort he forced open the connector hatch on the drone and plugged it back into the vehicle’s power supply.

     As the drone lay silently on the ground, plugged into what was essentially life support from the vehicle Dubois again thought to himself about that machine just saving his life. He then thought that later, after the drone was taken to the police complex for repairs, he would return home and take a few days off, instead of one.