“Can you tell me why?” Qu asked Zed. “Why in this great, technologically marvelous world, you decided to drink tea that had real water, when you are, in fact, a robot?”
Zed’s head twitched as his system was being adjusted by Qu. The tea had worked down his neck and into his internal system. Qu knew how to fix it, afterall, this wasn’t the first time Zed still felt human and tried to do things he shouldn’t. Tea was a small thing compared to that one night…
“Hey, how long has it been since we had tea?” Zed asked, ready to defend himself despite being so clearly at fault.
“About a hundred and two years before the Seventh Night,” Qu figured. “So that means we haven’t drunk tea in six-hundred and fifty-nine years.”
“That’s right, so excuse me if I believe the apocalypse that turned our world into a dust bowl isn’t the perfect time to take risk and try some tea.”
Qu leaned back from Zed’s open chest. Most of the circuits seemed to be in good order, but there was a section that still wasn’t receiving any power. Most likely that was the reason Zed could not move his left leg. He began searching for the problem, but curiosity bit at him.
“How did it taste?” Qu asked.
“Well...it didn’t much…” Zed replied recalling it. “A little bitter I suppose, but that might have been in my head...we don’t have tongues, you know?”
“I know, but you know that they installed stuff in us that we didn’t know about.”
“And you know that I know that the sense of taste was not high on their list for detectives.”
“Don’t you start.”
“I just think it’s funny how we don’t dance anymore.”
Qu leaned back and looked at Zed.
“Is that why you drank the tea?”
Zed did not answer, but his silence was enough to confirm Qu’s thoughts. Qu pulled a chair up and sat beside Zed.
“You know we can dance anytime, Zed,” Qu replied. “But at the end of the day that is now excuse to basically commit suicide by drinking some tea you found.”
Zed looked down in shame and Qu rested a hand on his shoulder.
“Qu…” Zed began.
“There’s no need, Zed,” Qu interrupted. With a sudden pull he removed a lizard bone. “Really?”
“I actually have no idea how that got there,” Zed lied.
Instead of arguing with Zed, Qu decided to laugh it off and finish the repairs. All the while, the girl who they met sat and watched them curiously.
“You two are so cute together,” she hummed mockingly.
“Laugh all you want, girl,” Zed told her. “But once you’ve spent centuries with the same dude, they grow on you. No matter how hard you try to push them off you, you just end up taking them and taking them happily.”
“Aren’t you two funny,” Qu grunted, ignoring Zed’s and the girls chuckling.
Eventually there was a sharp bleep as a connection was made and Zed’s circuits were back up and running. Zed tried walking once more and was happy to see that he could again. He immediately walked over to the scrap desk.
“What are you looking for?” Qu asked as Zed rummaged around the mess of junk on the table.
“I know I kept that little upgrade around here somewhere...maybe…” Zed muttered to himself.
Qu shook his head and walked over to the girl. She sat on a stack of metal containers, a revolver on her hip and a smile painted across her face.
“What do you plan to do now that you’ve saved us?” Qu asked her.
“I’ve been looking for somebody to survive in this wasteland of a world,” she replied simply. “You two seem capable and fun, so I guess I will tag-along with whatever you are doing.”
“What we are doing is dangerous,” Qu explained. “On your own you can sneak under cover, do things your way, but we’re up against a super-force of militant scientists that want to rip me and Zed apart just to see how we work.”
“Like I said, you guys seem fun.”
The girl stared back at Qu with confidence. She was capable, Qu had to give her that. Afterall, there were forty or so scavengers dead around them. She took out every one, the first bunch brutally and silently, and the rest loud and messily just because she was growing bored. In that way she reminded Qu of Zed and his rogue-like behaviour.
“Fine,” Qu murmured. “Try to keep us alive and we will do the same for you.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” the girl nodded.
“Do you have a name?” Qu asked before walking off to collect his gear.
“Lilith,” the girl replied. “Try not to laugh.”
“Not at all,” Qu added. “Zed and I prefer the old names. There was this annoying scavenger who would yell insanity around the camp and his names was ‘fire-breather’ of all things. Can you believe that?”
“I actually can,” Lilith smiled knowingly. “These lunatics, right?”
Qu smiled for a moment before turning to go and retrieve his weapons. A side-arm like a revolver was more suit for Zed and Lilith, but for him, he used a rifle. Efficient, deadly and accurate, exactly what his creators had envisioned for him when he used to work the force with Zed. Now, he is just trying to survive with everybody else, this time without the advantages of high-tech weaponry or intel provided by a crack-team of agents.
“Ah, here it is!” Zed murmured. Zed held two electronics in his hands, both similar in appearance, but one Qu recognised as an earpiece which he threw to Lilith. “There you go, so you can stay in-touch with our updates. We don’t need to speak to send them and they might save your life one day.”
“Thanks,” Lilith replied sincerely as she placed it in her ear. “And what is that other thing?”
“This?” Zed confirmed as he placed on his helmet. “These are my jams.”
With a quick tap music began to play through all three’s earpieces; Qu and Lilith were treated to the sight of Zed convulsing to the music, dancing like he didn’t...ever.
Be sure to follow!