The café door splintered.
He grabbed the ruck sack and ran through the little hallway which led from the dining area to a tiny dated kitchen, hidden away at the back of the building.
Reilly covered his face with his hands and swore under his breath as he found himself trapped in the miniature kitchen stock room, which was definitely not designed to hold six feet of American muscle. He breathed in sharply and managed to inch the thin door shut as he listened to the cacophony of metallic sounds: the sound tags of the different robotic units.
There were three distinct units.
‘Area is clear of suspects, ISU,’ A low metallic voice entered the kitchen and its tracks squealed as the reconnaissance unit checked for occupants.
‘Report accepted,’ ISU – 208 (Information Surveillance Unit) rolled into the kitchen. Its tread was heavier than the (Situation Control Unit) and its pace slower more majestic as suited its higher purpose.
‘Dismantle, retrieve, and store redundant components. Secondly, incinerate building.’
The human units saluted, turned and began to rip every piece of metal from the tiny kitchen.
‘Why do we need to burn the café? We need food supplies,’ asked one of the Human Units, as he stood in the middle of the café kitchen and watched as a tray of stale chocolate chip cookies fall from the countertop and get smashed to pieces under the heavy stamp of robotic front prints.
‘Human Unit 238, we are accumulating the technology to negate your food source requirement. Your designation is to follow orders. Non-compliance of police directives is in violation of The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. A warning has been placed on your file. Any further violation will result in your termination. Do you understand?’
‘Er… not really,’ whispered the Human Unit (H-Unit). ‘I only want a food source.’
‘Any complaints against robotic criminal enforcement units may be sent to the Commissioner for overseeing robotic operations.’ ISU answered.
‘How do I do that?’ the human unit responded.
‘There is an online form. However, the mailbox is unmonitored. The post is vacant. Now execute commands.’
Reilly listened as everything metallic was ripped from the kitchen and carried to what he assumed to be a smart lorry that had juddered to a halt just outside the cafe. Caterpillar tracts squeaked and groaned. Then silence. Reilly took his knife from its sheath, opened the door a crack and peered cautiously at the kitchen. Doors hung one-hinged from cupboards and grey scars were etched into the walls where the dishwasher, cooker, and microwave had stood. Even the extractor fan and metallic hood had been ripped from the wall. The robotics were obviously planning ahead. Silently, he slipped through the door, making for the kitchen window. It would be a squeeze but then he was used to getting out of tight situations.
Something creaked behind him and Reilly spun around. He came face to face with two surprised bright green eyes.
He grabbed the human unit and slammed it against the kitchen wall.
Instantly, he was behind the unit, his knife cutting into its throat, ‘Make one sound and I will slit your throat,’ Reilly hissed in the unit’s ear.