Chapter Five | One Piece at a Time

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"Asimov's Requisitions and Refurbishments," Cash said, tapping the metal plaque next to the locked sliding door she and Boss stood in front of. "That's a fancy name for a junkyard."

Boss slapped Cash in the arm with the back of her hand.

"Don't be rude," she hissed good-naturedly. "He might be listening." She pointed to the camera that turned slowly to face them as if on cue.

"You should take her advice," came a voice from the intercom by the door.

Cash took off her hat. "I do apologize, Mr. Asimov," she said congenially.

Cash heard a "tsk" almost too soft to be picked up by the microphone. "You aren't hauling any scrap. What do you want."

Boss stepped up to the intercom and made eyes at the camera. "We are looking for the best technician in town. Our associates pointed us toward you."

The camera panned quickly from Cash to Boss and then paused as if it, and not the person controlling it, were considering the proposition. Without a word, a loud buzzer sounded and the metal door slid open with a hiss.

"Much obliged," Cash demurred, tipping her hat to the camera and following Boss inside.

The interior was as utilitarian as the exterior had been. Unbroken metal walls surround a matching metal floor that sent their footsteps jarring about the room in a dull echo. Bright fluorescent bars of light lined the ceiling without anything to soften their harsh glow. There was not much space between the door and a thick see-through pane separating the entrance from the back of the office. Behind the glass stood Asimov.

Cyborgs were always something to behold but Asimov was truly a unique specimen. His body was almost entirely tech, which either meant the plague had affected his organic bits more than most of his brethren, or he had taken to the concept and continued to outfit himself with more and more adaptations. Cash was inclined to believe the latter. Bits of his naturally mint green skin showed around edges of smooth metal beneath which gears moved slowly under translucent plastics. Worn on top of this amalgamation of carefully maintained alloys and wire was a simple button-up shirt, rolled up to his elbows, tough-looking slacks held up by suspenders. The center of his chest lit up brightly enough to give a warm glow through the clearly abused leather apron he wore over it all.

"You've got some heavy security in here, Mr. Asimov," Cash noticed.

"Just Asimov, please," the cyborg said simply.

Cash noted the preference with a tip of her head.

"What do you want from me?" he asked, wiping his hands, a few fleshy fingers of which remained, clean with a stained rag.

"We need a man of your particular talents," said Boss slyly, approaching the glass.

"That much you said at the door." Asimov did not look up from his hands, inspecting his fingernails with an unconcerned eye. "I'm asking why."

"Calvera has abducted my son," Boss's voice was barely above a whisper but the intensity of her tone registered on Asimov's face, "and I'm offering you enough money to reaugment your entire body and then some if you'll help us get him back."

Asimov lowered the rag and looked up, meeting Boss's hard stare. "How much."

"How much do you want?"

The Cyborg's expression flickered dangerously but he did not respond.

"I know you've been trying to find a way to keep your kind from dying off." Boss pressed her hands to the plexiglass. Asimov's gaze flickered to her fingers, his lip curling ruefully. "Help me and I promise you will have an investor in your scientific endeavor."

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