By Demona's Raptor
"As you can see we've got a serious storm system coming this way out of the northeastern side of Lake Huron, which should reach western Manhattan and the Bronx around ten o' clock tonight, so we'll keep an eye on this system late into the night. And now here's your local forecast."
Elisa switched the television volume off and glanced at her watch, "Almost time for everyone to wake up." Standing up, she reached for her coat at the side of the couch when a news bulletin interrupted the weather forecast. Immediately she turned the volume back up.
"NOVA Robotics are on the look out for a robot that they say in potentially dangerous to the public. Reports conclude that this robot is indeed armed and dangerous. S.A.I.N.T. Prototype Number Five is one of the five NOVA robots that were designed for military usage in the future wars, should there be any. It escaped early this morning from its holding building at Albany and was last seen heading toward New York City. Report any sightings to--"
Suddenly lightening flashed outside and the screen went blank. "Well, so much for a news report, eh Cagney?" The gray cat just meowed and curled up tighter on the seat of the chair.
Elisa considered what she'd heard on the report. From what she knew, Xanatos could be linked to NOVA by business terms. Then she pulled out her phone, dialing for the Eyrie Building.
"Xanatos Enterprises, how may I help you?" Owen's voice came over the speaker.
"Hi, Owen, it's Elisa, could I speak with Xanatos?"
"One moment, please,"
A few minutes later Xanatos took the phone, "Yes, detective?"
"I was wondering in the exception of a news report I just saw, is your company linked to NOVA Robotics in any way? The report that just came about them caught my eye. It said one of their five prototype military robots escaped from Albany and is headed for New York."
"I am linked to them, yes, we do trades of information. I supply them with programming information and they send me the parts I use to construct my Steel Clan robots and such. But if one escaped I'm not sure what could've gone wrong. Unless it's malfunctioning from damage issues,"
Elisa took a moment to think about the new information before saying, "Have you taken the Gargoyles in? It's supposed to be pretty nasty out tonight."
"I already have, you may come visit them if you please." He stopped suddenly and Elisa heard a chorus of roars and sounds of stone hitting the floor over the background. "Well, they're up."
"I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Tell Goliath about this and have him tell Lex to pull up a news station on the radio or get something from the Internet."
"He'll look forward to seeing you."
Setting the phone back in its receiver, Elisa grabbed her coat and as she walked to the door, grabbed her gun, and set it in its pocket. "Can't be too careful." Cagney meowed again and resettled her position.
Out in the far distance she didn't notice the lightening bolt that had struck the horizon…
* * * * *
"Is everyone here?"
All the gargoyles had been called to gather in the Great Hall while Xanatos was preparing to inform them about Elisa's report, based on the data she had already received. Goliath and Hudson were both standing near the doorway; Bronx was at their feet. The trio and Angela were seated in different seats along one side of the room.
Finally Xanatos stepped in. "Thank you for coming,"
"Like we had a choice," Lexington said with a slight hint of amusement.
"What news have you brought?" Goliath asked.
"Let me start by saying have any of you heard of NOVA?" Xanatos questioned.
"NOVA? Isn't that that high tech company that's located upstate? Associated with the department of defense?" Angela asked. The trio looked at her, completely confused. "Hey, I read the papers." she told them simply.
"And what is the situation with this NOVA, laddie?" Hudson asked.
"One of their robots has escaped." Xanatos told them all. "It's Number Five of five currently being tested prototypes. The fifth's found a way out of its home and is coming this way."
* * * * *
Elisa was just getting out of her red Ford Farline and locking it up when a crash came from a car across the road. A white van across the street was rocking back and forth violently. Red light could be seen from the windows. The detective drew her gun, "Looters."
She approached it slowly and then opened the door, pointing her gun inside. "Police, free--" Her voice cut off at the sight of what she was looking at.
Its lit eyes were looking right back at her with almost the same expression she wore; black plastic flaps above and below the eyes made it seem that the robot could express emotion even using its face. It's two fingered hands with thumbs were resting on a countertop that was at the side of the van and its body was standing on triangular shaped treadmills like those of tanks only in a smaller version. A laser behind its left shoulder was aimed straight at her.
"Oh my God"
The robot tilted its head and the eyes dimmed slightly as if it were puzzled.
Elisa set her gun back while speaking slowly to the robot, carefully and slowly, "Uh Hi I'm Elisa Maza uh welcome to New York." The robot's eyebrows lifted slightly. "It's all right. I'm not going to hurt you." It noticed where she'd put her gun and drew back its own laser. Then it went back to examining various objects on the counter. And then it did something Elisa totally didn't expect.
"Oh, you can talk."
"Malfunction, need input." Its voice sounded desperate in a way.
"Input that's information." Elisa told it to clarify. The robot looked interested for it's head lifted up slightly. "Listen, I am full of it. Why don't you come with me and we can well, sit down, talk, get to know each other, communicate, input." The machine looked convinced, but wouldn't move.
"C'mon," Elisa tried gesturing with her index finger for the robot to come to her. "It's okay," Instead the robot mimicked her with its own index finger. She laughed lightly. "Uh no, come here," Then she tried gesturing with her right arm. Again the robot copied her with some multipurpose attachment below its right arm for its shoulders were broad and its arms were separated by at least three inches from the body. "No, I mean, come with me, this way," The robot mimicked her again when she gestured with both her arms.
"Okay" She put a hand to the side of her head and watched in amusement as the robot did the same, lifting its eyes to make it look like it was thinking. Elisa dropped her hand. "Come here," Carefully she took the robot's hand. Still the machine wouldn't move.
"March, heel, giddy-up uh forward."
"Forward!" At the word the robot moved toward her.
* * * * *
"Okay, c'mon, forward this way," Elisa turned the doorknob and opened the door to her apartment. She'd disguised Number Five in a trench coat and hat so any other humans wouldn't see him.
Cagney instantly perked up when the robot entered the room, taking off the hat. "Don't be scared, Cagney, he's a friend." Elisa told her, helping Number Five out of the coat.
"Need input," he repeated. The gray cat meowed loudly and scampered off.
"Okay, right, well, this is an apartment, we live within it, inside. And this is the floor, see."
"And we have the opposite of a floor, which is a ceiling. Look up." Elisa walked over to a lamp as Number Five spoke and 'looked up'.
"We have windows and um, air, and look over here," She switched the lamp on. "Light," Number Five glanced at the lamp, then at the radio. Elisa turned it on and the song 'Who's Johnny' was playing on the station. "Music."
"And this is Cagney," Elisa reached down and pulled Cagney up into her arms as Number Five came over. "She's a cat." The cat meowed again and lept from Elisa when he got to close. "Well, do you like pictures?" Number Five wasn't listening to her; he was spinning a globe that was standing at one side of the room.
"Oh, good, there you go," Elisa came up beside him. "That's Earth. And you are, here, New York."
"Yeah, home of the Yankees, the Empire State."
"Yankees. Empire. Input!"
"I'm giving you great input."
"More input! More input!"
"How about pictures, do you like pictures?" Reaching over she pulled a Dictionary from the shelf. She opened it up to a photo of an Alligator. "That's an Alligator. See?"
"Input Alligator, reptile, found in swamps, predator," Suddenly Number Five was blazing through the pages of the book, reading in a very fast pace.
"Holy crone, you can read!" Elisa said in surprise.
Within seconds the robot finished the five-inch thick book. "Ahh input, more input!"
"No problem." She grabbed the next book. "Here's volume two,"
Within the three minutes of the song, 'Who's Johnny' all the twenty-six books on the shelf were gone and Number Five was just finishing the last one. "More input, Elisa, more!"
"There isn't anymore, you've read everything in the apartment," she informed him.
He looked at the floor for a minute, then up at, "Ooo... Animal. Mammal. Cat." Cagney hissed and jumped back from him, she was standing above them on a shelf. Then the robot lifted his gaze from the floor to the kitchen. "Ah, vessel, container, drinking glass,"
"You're being too curious for your own good,"
"Pasta," Number Five picked up a box of spaghetti and spilled it out. "Spaghetti." Then he took a stove pot of, "Oh, liquid. Spaghetti sauce,"
"Hey! Look, this may be hilarious for you, but to me it's considered rude!"
While Elisa began cleaning up, Number Five went over to a basket on the counter that had fruit in it. "Oooh fruit. Oranges. Apples. Lemons. Limes." Elisa was definitely right of him being too curious. For he picked up the basket, but spilled the contents over the floor.
"Oh, that's great, thanks a lot."
Then Number Five looked down at an end table with some China dishes on it. "Fabric, tablecloth." He grabbed hold of it.
"No! Not the dishes!"
When he pulled it back, the plates stayed right where they were, as if it were a trick on television.
Instead he picked the table up next. "Breakfast table. American Contemporary." The dishes slid off and shattered on the floor.
"Numerous fragments. Some large. Some small." Finally he just looked up at the skylight of Elisa's apartment. "Skylight. Window. Source of natural light." Suddenly he looked at something Elisa wished she hadn't have gotten out. "Photograph. Picture. Framed scene." It was a photograph Elisa'd taken of a group shot of the Gargoyles.
"Oh. That's nothing," she said while cleaning up some of the messes Number Five'd made. And then she grabbed the remote and prayed that the cable had come back in. "Here, take a look at that." He did as told and was automatically mesmerized by the television.
"Right, input. Input. Good." As Number Five stopped in front of the TV Elisa took his hand, "Here you hold this, that's very good, and stay right there," And gave him the controller. "Now stay Stay." While he watched the TV for a moment Elisa brought out her camera just to take a picture. "Okay, with your permission. I know no one's going to believe me and I'd like to know I'm not crazy so look up, look up." As he did she snapped a photograph of him. With a light wince he went back to watching the TV.
Just as Elisa was about to call the Eyrie Building to inform Xanatos that she'd found the robot Goliath and Brooklyn landed outside her skylight. Elisa mentally kicked herself for not showing up at the meeting. "Hey, guys," she greeted as they dropped in.
"Hello, Elisa, didn't you know that you were supposed to come meet us at the Great Hall?" Goliath questioned, caping his wings.
"Yeah, I did, but the thing is I have--"
"Guests. Company. Accompaniments. Friends. Companions. Amigos."
"Company over tonight." she finished. Then she gestured to the robot, "Guys, meet Number Five."
"Greetings," the robot said, waving and looking to the rest of them.
"This is the contraption that everyone says will kill on sight?" Brooklyn asked suspiciously.
"Contraption? A device or machine that appears strange or improvised? Incorrect. Number Five not a contraption."
"I stand corrected then," he replied sarcastically.
"And how did you come across this Number Five?" Goliath asked, watching in puzzlement as the robot looked back and flipped through the channels, finally settling on the choice of The Three Stooges on TV Land.
"I found him in a van outside the Eyrie Building. He just didn't seem dangerous so I thought I'd hide him until I call NOVA to come take him back to Albany." Elisa explained.
Number Five spoke up again, "Albany. Capital city of New York. Situated on the western bank of the Hudson River. Current population: 95,658. Was appointed capitalism in the year--"
"Yeah, and you have to go back there, S.A.I.N.T. Prototype Number Five."
"Not S.A.I.N.T. Prototype Number Five, just Number Five."
Brooklyn gazed around and saw that, "Elisa, what happened to this place? It looks like a tornado went through here. Followed by a hurricane."
"No, Number Five went through here." she corrected, with a smile of amusement.
"Tornado. Destructive weather force. Measured by--"
Elisa spoke up while picking up the spilled fruit basket, "Number Five. Quit it already; just watch your show."
Sighing, the robot turned back to the television. "IN-put" he said, changing the channel again.
"Is that the only word he knows?"
"No, he's already read every one of my books. Including all ten of the encyclopedias. But I think the reason he's needing input is because he needs to be tuned up. Or because of a malfunction."
"Are you sure it isn't dangerous?" Goliath asked.
"No, he doesn't look like it?"
"How long do you plan to keep him here?"
"I'm gonna call NOVA right now." Elisa picked up the phone and reached for the drawer with the phonebook, but it was missing. "Number Five"
"Here!" Suddenly the phonebook flew through the air; making Brooklyn duck so he wouldn't get hit in the head, and landed on the couch.
"Thanks" Finding the phone number Elisa motioned for the two gargoyles to wait. "Yes, I thought you might like to know that I've found one of your robots no, he hasn't done anything to me When can you come get it? Well how about tomorrow night? Yes, all right, see you then, yes... you're welcome, bye."
"What did they say?" Goliath asked after she set the phone down.
"They said to bring Number Five to the north end of Manhattan and to come alone. Until then make sure he stays out of trouble."
"How do you plan to keep him cooped up all night?"
"Cooped up? Contain. Restrain. Hold up. Stay put. Don't move." Number Five spoke up, but didn't take his eyes off the television.
"I swear he has at least four other terms related to any word he hears from us. Lex would really enjoy this guy's company."
"And they also told me this," She whispered so the gargoyles only could hear: "They're going to take him apart when they find him. To find out which screw is loose, stuff like that,"
"Are you sure that won't upset him? He seems alive in some way."
"I'm not sure, but for now we won't tell him." Elisa glanced at the clock timer on the VCR. "You two better go before you miss patrolling routes. I've got to go to work anyway. I'll meet you there if you like,"
"I'll have to pass that offer, Elisa. Broadway and Lex wanted me to help them with their route since we're looking for those major league looters down in Staten Island. Despite that place's size it's very hard to find anyone. Later. See ya, Number Five,"
The robot turned and waved as Brooklyn climbed out through the skylight and glided off.
"I will meet you at the station soon, Elisa," Goliath said, taking his leave next.
"See ya there," she said as he glided off. When she was sure they were both gone she picked up her coat again.
"Where are you going, Elisa?"
"Just out to work, stay here and don't go anywhere," she ordered, backing toward the door.
Number Five nodded, "You got it,"
* * * * *
At sunrise that morning when Elisa got home, Number Five was still watching her television set. "Have you been watching this all night?" she asked, putting her coat on the coat rack as she came through the door. "Come on," Then she turned it off.
Elisa noticed the books still everywhere and reached down to pick some of them up. "No. Don't get up. I can take care of it." While she picked the books up he switched the TV back on. "Don't you ever get enough of this stuff? You know, you lose IQ cells the longer you watch. There've been actual studies." She turned it off once again.
"Mmm…" Instead of listening he turned it back on.
"Look, you're going to become the first robot couch-potato and I'm not kidding. Give me that. Give me that thing." She took the remote from him then. Then switched the TV off.
"Errrr…" Somehow the TV came back on. Elisa didn't know, but Number Five'd turned it on with a small antenna rigged on his head.
"Have a heart?"
"Have a heart, don't cry little girl, smile your tears away, and dozens of other hits all on this great two record set. Call now, our operators are standing by." Elisa couldn't help, but laugh at that. He'd sounded just like a commercial narrator. "Are you tired of bills piling up? Simply your life with accountant-in-a-can, and if you act now we'll also include--"
"Okay, you didn't come all the way to New York to do TV ads, did you?"
Number Five only tilted his head to one side.
"Of course not," She took his hand again and led him toward the door that led to the balcony. "C'mon, there's something I want to show you outside, c'mon."
* * * * *
Soon they were on the roof of the apartment building. Number Five was fascinated with a caged messenger dove. "Bird, dove, never more."
"Okay, now look there." Elisa said, pointing to the sunrise.
Instead he looked at her. "Oh, look?"
"No, no," She placed her hands on the sides of his head and turned his vision. "There, see?"
"Ooooo... beautiful... light bulb!"
"No, sun," she corrected him.
"Beautiful, large sun."
"Beautiful. Sun." she told him again, nice and clear.
"Beautiful… rhinoceros, turtle, Volkswagen!" It took Elisa a minute to determine that he was looking at the clouds and not the sunrise.
"You can really see those, huh?"
"Mm-hm," Barking sounded nearby and Elisa saw one of the other apartment's dogs standing nearby. She recognized him as Max, a German Shepard. "Prettiful animal. Mammal. Canine. Dog… Mutt."
The dog continued barking.