Attack of the Killer Washing Machines (Side Quests, #1)
“Police Commissioner White has confirmed that the recent cyber-attacks were caused by the radical group known as the Unplugs.” Sally’s holographic image buzzed and blinked in and out. “Police have no leads on their whereabouts at the moment.” The holographic image suddenly changed to a band playing rock music.
The young college student scoffed. “Who cares about Unplugs?” he said dumping a load of laundry into the machine. He began dancing to the music as he measured out the detergent. “Na, na-na-naa!” he sang along. He dumped the detergent in and stepped back. “This would be so much easier if I could just have new clothes printed every week like Justin. Thinks he’s so grand because his father owns a 3D printing shop.”
The washing machine clicked and whirled as the student began to do some air guitar riffs. Suddenly the holographic band vanished. Sally’s image returned. “The Unplugs…” she said.
The student turned. “Wha?” He tilted his head.
“The Unplugs—zzt—Unplugs,” said Sally. “The Unplugs are—zzt—terrorists. They—zzt—care for no one,” the voice was turning deeper and darker. “They first appeared—zzt—in 2017 claiming technology was evil—zzt—They are the reason for the protective domes over the cities. They wish—zzt—towipeout—zzt—all those who use technology. In 2018—zzt—they unleashed the nuclear missiles—zzt—If not for the domes—zzt—we would be—zzt—fried.” The word “fried” was so slow it took almost three seconds to say it.
The student started towards the glitching holograph. He slowly began to reach towards the image.
“The-the-the Un-p-p-plugs live outside of the cities in the-the-the waste-waste-waste…lands,” the holograph said. “They pretend to be-be-be pa-pa-pa-passive, but they are behind the attacks.”
The student was close to touching the holographic image of Sally’s cheek. The image then abruptly changed to a demon. The student went backwards as the demon roared and unfurled his bat-like wings. It pointed at the student. In a booming, demonic voice proclaimed, “You! You have been found guilty of aiding in the decline of mankind, Justin Willes!”
“No, dude!” said the student shaking. “That’s my roommate! I just swiped…borrowed his Omni-Cuff.” The student slipped the small clip from his ear and held it out to the demon like some offering. “See? It’s not mine. Justin gets all the best stuff while I barely make it on scholarships!”
“You have been judged, Justin Willes, and found wanting,” said the demon.
“No no no no, I’m not Justin!”
The demon then was sucked back into the Omni-Cuff as if it were a vacuum cleaner. The sudden quiet was deafening. The student glanced around whimpering. He then let out a relieved breath.
Then clank, clank, thud, thud, clank. The student slowly turned to the washing machine. It was hopping. Foam suddenly erupted; followed by a mountain of clothes. The student was pelted by socks and jeans. The machine continued to jump about. The student began to crab-crawl his way towards the door. The machine suddenly rocketed across the room and landed in front of the door. Mechanical arms suddenly protruded from the machine’s sides.
“Since when did they have those?!” the student said. “And where were they when I was loading the clothes!”
The student and washing machine turned towards the sound. They saw me standing there. I had come through the window (the door had been blocked—besides this looked cooler). My purple cloak settled behind me as I stood.
“Dogboy!” said the student. “Thank heavens!”
“Dogboy,” the washing machine seemed to gurgle in an angry voice.
I tapped the dog whistle comm-link in my sunglasses. “You were right, Brain, killer washing machine.”
“Told you hacking into the city’s cameras would be useful,” Brain’s voice came through the system. “The AI was able to pick up what was happening and determine that you would be needed.”
I charged at the demented machine. I rolled from its swipe and slashed the body with my dog claws. The machine grumbled and tipped back and forth; steam began to come from its chamber. It spewed hot water on me. The water singed my fur a little, but I was OK.
The machine brought down its arms to hit me over the head. I caught them and using my telekinesis began to push back against them. It was stronger than I thought and I was losing ground. With the last bit of strength I had, I moved into position and bit off a mechanical arm.
Now the machine was really ticked. It tried to backhand me. I took a step back and teleported away. I landed near the student.
“That thing is crazy!” cried the student. “It thinks I’m my roommate!”
The remaining arm then became a buzzing saw blade.
“Really?” I said. “Is this where our college tuition goes?”
The student scampered away as the blade came at me. I rolled away. It jabbed at me and I jumped clear.
“You know, Brain, we never covered fighting a washing machine in training.” I then jumped as the blade tried to slice my legs. It nearly got my tail.
“That was why we had those improvising lessons.”
“Oh! Is that what you want me to do?” I called for my leash grapple. The tech in my belt 3D printed something that looked like a retractable dog leash device. I fired the leash at the machine’s arm, hooked it, and detached the leash from my end. I tied my end to a table which kept the arm still. I charged at the machine and leapt. I used my telekinesis to make my parkour flips and landings a little more graceful as I made my way over the machine and land near the wall. I then unplugged the washing machine. The whirling and buzzing got slower and slower until it finally shut down.
I turned to the door. “Here comes the police.”
“Retrieve a sample of the code that infected the machine,” said Brain.
I tapped the sunglasses again. A beam of light projected from them and scanned the washing machine. “It wouldn’t hurt you to say ‘please’ now and then.”
The scan finished as the police vehicles arrived. The student was blathering in a panic about what happened. I slipped back out the window and headed for the nearest tree.
I covered my dog head with the hood of my purple cape and closed my eyes to focus on the image of my human form. My skin began to tingle as the energy passed through me. My purple cape began to shorten and meld with my purple vest. The vest became a blue jacket. My blue jeans shortened to become cargo shorts. My dog feet began to shorten and transform back into human feet. The claws became nails and the fur retreated and became human hair. The toes of the black boots sealed themselves, from when my dog feet had broken through, and shifted into red and white tennis shoes.
The claws on my hands became nails and my fur became hair. The dog paw pads on my hands became human palms. My tail shrank back into my body and I began to lose some height. My emblem faded from the chest of my off-white T-shirt; the T-shirt then changed to a light blue shirt.
My ears became less floppy and my teeth less sharp, but my teeth did retain some sharpness and my ears, though human looking, did have some point to them. I also had a little bit more hair than a normal person. My nose and muzzle changed into a human mouth and nose. The black sunglasses became normal glasses. Finally, my golden retriever fur became blond hair.
I opened my eyes and lowered the now blue hood.
I started walking towards my car as others headed towards the college laundry mat. Brain came in over the dog whistle comm-link. “I have received the sample and will begin analysis.”
“Sounds good to me.” My voice now wasn’t as gruff and dog-like. “You know, for a group that hates technology so much, they sure use it a lot.” I opened the door to my car. I could see the student still waving his arms up and down and jumping around as police officers set up crime tape and began their investigation. “The Unplug are getting bolder,” I sighed.
Copyright © 2016 by Joe Rover
All rights reserved. No part of this story/post may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission of the author/publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews. Author can be contacted on Twitter @JoeRover2.
All characters, organizations, and locations in this story/post have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone bearing the same name or names. Any resemblance to individuals known or unknown to the author are purely coincidental.