This used to be part of one long section of flying over Stroud, meeting Doctor Marlowe, and then rushing out like something important happened. And it kinda worked, until I started Washing and Dry Brushing the chapter. Now there is a chapter of them flying over Stroud. This chapter of the Meeting. And…I’m not sure, because the more I read the post meeting the more I see how it needs to change because assumptions are made/given that are not in evidence, at least not to the degree that Puddles and Whiskers infer. Then there is the whole Chuck reference as if they have not worked with him before. Ah, the joys of writing a story the way I do I’m loving the process of writing, I hope you are enjoying the story.
Puddles set the auto-drive to the landing pad coordinates and turned to Whiskers, “What are we doing?”
“I hope we get answers from Doctor Marlowe.”
Holding up her paw, Puddles ticked off her points, “His daughters, the ganger with the bubble shield technology, and that room, right?”
“That sounds right,” he replied.
Approaching the landing pad, Whiskers pointed at the two Titan security guards in white and blue body armor waiting for them.
“Guess we’re getting an escort,” Puddles said sarcastically.
As their car landed, the security guards approached and waited. Whiskers secured his katana and pocketed his tablet. Puddles stowed her frying pan and pistol under her seat. Their car landed with a thud, the auto-drive flashing green.
“All good?” Puddles asked Whiskers.
“Follow us,” said a guard said in a monotone as they exited their car.
Without waiting, the guards turned on their heels and marched to door clearly labeled 33rd Floor Research Lobby. Puddles and Whiskers hurried across the landing pad to catch up to them. One guard glared at them as they approached. The other in a monotone said, “This way please.”
Following Monotone and Glare through the white lobby, Puddles counted ten pieces of bland corporate art, six white hallways branching off from the lobby and one express elevator. Glare summoned the elevator while Monotone stood silently with Puddles and Whiskers. A quick ride down two floors, the elevator opened onto a featureless white hallway ending in a security door labeled, Sterile Lab 2.
Monotone said, “Doctor Marlowe is inside.” As the thick door slide aside.
They walked past Glare standing outside the door, Monotone followed them inside waiting at the back of the white room with several tables covered in equipment and interface stations along the walls. Puddles gave Whiskers her “looks familiar look.” Whiskers returned the expression.
“I don’t see anyone,” Puddles announced.
“Behind the glass,” a monotone replied pointing to the large window at the rear of the room.
Approaching the glass, they saw a room packed with equipment and tables, but nobody inside. Whiskers turned to ask monotone where Doctor Marlowe was when a holo of an elderly human male in an oversized blue and white hazmat suit appeared on behind the glass.
“Good evening,” the holo addressed them.
“What is this!” Puddles ears back, fur raised, shouted while gesturing towards the holo.
“I think you mean who is this,” Whiskers responded while squinting at the man’s face. “Remarkable quality holo,” Whiskers mumbled.
“I don’t care about the quality. Where is…Doctor…Doctor…”
“Yeah, that guy.”
The holo of the man raised his hand, “I am Doctor Cadius Marlowe.”
Pivoting on her heels to face Whiskers and Monotone, “That’s not Doctor Marlowe!”
“But I am Doctor Marlowe,” the holo pleaded.
“Excuse us a second, Doctor Marlowe,” Whiskers said to the holo while directing Puddles over to a corner of the room.
Ears less flat, fur still raised, and tail slashing through the air, Puddles allowed herself to be directed, “What?” she hissed.
“Let me handle this,” gesturing towards the holo of Doctor Marlowe who turned away from them and appeared to be working, “I might be able to get something of use out of him.”
“Fine,” Puddles fumed, “you go talk to Doctor Pixels. I’ll wait over here.”
Clearing his throat, Whiskers waited for the holo of Doctor Marlowe to turn around. A few seconds of waiting, Doctor Marlowe faced Whiskers his hands hidden behind a desk or table, Whiskers assumed.
“Sorry to bother you so late in the evening,” Whiskers began.
“No bother,” Doctor Marlowe interrupted obviously looking at something off holo, “Its only 8 am here.”
Whiskers masked his surprise as best he could, while making a “wait” gesture below the window to Puddles in the corner who looked ready to pounce on the holo, regardless of the window. “I’m sorry, did you say 8 am?”
“That is correct.” Doctor Marlowe chuckled, “You thought I was there? No, I’m in [static] working.”
“Where are you working?” Whiskers asked.
“The security filter prevents some information from transmitting. Suffice to say, I am off site. Is there a reason why you wanted to see me?”
“Before I answer that, how long have you been off site?”
“Then you did not hire us to look into your missing daughters?” Whiskers asked, knowing the answer.
Shaking his head, “No I did not. What is this about?”
“A man claiming to be you hired our investigative firm to find his missing daughters. Following his information we tracked their location to Tumbledown.”
“I’m sorry I don’t have any daughters,” Doctor Marlowe replied. “Did you happen to find anyone?” He asked.
Whiskers thought he heard a nervous tone in Marlowe’s voice, “No one matching the descriptions we were given. We did encounter some gangers with some unusual tech.”
“Oh…,” Doctor Marlowe hesitated, obviously looking at something off-holo. “No, I did not hire you nor do I have any daughters. Tumbledown you say…I’m sorry but I must get back to my work. I’m sorry I could not be of more help.”
Without warning, the holo ended.