Puddles and Whiskers, WDB The Meeting…

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.

Previously.

The Meeting

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.

Whiskers nodded.

“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…”

“Marlowe.”

“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?”

“Weeks. Why?”

“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.

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB On The Drive…

This Chapter used to be long. Now this Chapter is shorter. In exchange for splitting the Chapter apart I added more detail about the City. I’m not sure if this is enough detail for me, but for now this gives a much better view of where they are and where they are going.

Previously.

On the Drive…

Letting the car auto-fly following City mandated flight paths, Puddles settled back into her seat and watched Stroud turn from dark and dreary to bright and hopeful. Dark and dreary Eastern Stroud quickly became the rear view as the lights and glitter of Central Stroud came into view.

Immense building taller than the clouds, lit up with moving holo-advertisements, lights, and old-fashioned billboards looked like a crowded forest of metal, steel, and lights fighting to be best looking. Large squat block buildings created clear zones where the block buildings dominated the space, pushing the tall buildings to the edges. All around the City signs and moving holo-ads bigger than the building their office was located in advertised the latest brands of fad foods, beverages, mechanical augmentation, and more. Puddles stared at the hundred foot tall moving holo-ad of a human female wearing the latest clothing fad dancing and twirling along the sides of three buildings, her clothing morphing into a new outfit seamlessly with each dance step. As they passed the holo-ad, eyes bigger than the car illuminated the interior enough the auto-shade feature of the windows activated.

Flying traffic moved all around them in a computer coordinated dance. Vehicles of shapes, sizes, and colors flew about. The newest models of luxury and sports vehicles flying to the latest hotspots while slower moving cargo vehicles transported goods all over the city. Leaning in her seat, Puddles watched ground traffic on the elevated roads move around the city.

“Is that new?” Puddles asked pointing to a tall tower wrapped in a moving holo of vines growing to the top, sprouting vivid multicolor flowers that blew apart, the colorful petals falling to the ground starting the pattern.

Looking up from his tablet, Whiskers replied with a non-committal grunt.

Titan Industries located on an edge of the business distract stood apart from other buildings due to the building’s size and appearance. Taller and wider than any other building the entire structure white with blue stripes on the corners. The only exterior decoration small windows, land pads, and the iconic blue with white bordered T on each face of the building. At this hour, little traffic flew around Titan Industries.

“Titan control,” a flight controller said, “to approaching vehicle.”

Looking up from his data-pad, Whiskers said, “You should answer them.”

“Titan control, we are here to see Doctor Dan,” Puddles said.

“Do you have an appointment?”

Grabbing the tip of her nostril, Puddles shook her head, “No. This is an emergency meeting.”

Silence.

Puddles looked at Whiskers who shrugged.

“There is no Doctor Dan in the building at this time.”

“Shit. Wait…what was his name?” Puddles irritatedly said.

“Remember you left his name on the desk,” Whiskers sarcastically replied.

Shooting Whiskers an exasperated expression, Puddles gestured towards the approaching building.

Whiskers waved her expression and gesture off, “Titan control, our mistake. We are here to see Doctor Marlowe. He should be expecting us, PW Investigations.”

More silence.

“Coordinates to the 33rd floor landing pad have been sent to your vehicle. Do not alter flight path.”

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB Later That Evening…

The only tweaks, to the dialog. I may, on the last run through, tighten up the dialog, however at the moment their voices shine through.

Previously.

Later that evening…

DB’s Bar, a three-story bar across the street from Puddles and Whiskers office. Local watering hole on the lower floor, trendy afterhours club on the middle floor, and hopping nightclub on the top floor and after short drive, two long showers, and a change of clothes later where Puddles and Whiskers regrouped.

“This really rubs my fur the wrong way,” Puddles mumbled, slamming an empty glass on the bar top.

“Hey!” the human bar tender exclaimed.

Puddles shot him her best “do not mess with me, but please serve me another drink look.” Returning from the bathroom, Whiskers sat next to her, waving the bar tender over.

“All I can say about the bathroom, is there is some interesting reading on the walls,” Whiskers said.

“Yeah?”

“A variation on a herg warmarch where every instance of birds above was replaced with various slang for male genitalia. Pretty funny and clever, if you are familiar with the warmarch.”

“Sounds fun,” she responded sarcastically.

Setting two new drinks in front of them, the bar tender eyeing Puddles for an extra second before moving to other customers. Lifting the drinks Puddles and Whiskers toasted themselves.

“What a mess,” Puddles began. “A bunch more dead people. No clues. No pay. No nothing.”

“I will agree that there is not a lot to go on,” Whiskers replied taking a sip and making a face at his drink. “What is this?”

“Something local.”

“Oh,” Whiskers replied, taking another sip and making another face.

“Think we will get anything off of the recordings?”

“We know a few people who should be able to tell us what the rooms were set up for. The daughters,” Whiskers made air quotes around daughters, “bothers me.”

“I thought I saw one woman matching the vague description the Doc, gave us,” Puddles jumped in.

“I watched the one you are talking about run out, not a daughter.”

“There were no daughters. We were set up.”

“You are probably correct about the daughters, but I would like to make sure before moving onto the clean room.”

“We need to set up another meeting with Doctor Dan. What is his real name?”

“You still do not know his name?” Whiskers snorted, “A meeting is a good idea. We can ask him about his missing daughters, the clean room, and the gang protecting the room.”

Downing the last of her drink and slamming the glass on the counter again, Puddles said, “Those are some valid points. Morning call?”

“Why not now?”

Shrugging, Puddles gestured at the bar tender again, giving the universal sign for tab, “I’ll pay. You get the car.”

Puddles and Whiskers, WBD Back To The Present

Never fails to amuse me when I find after two or three edits something simple overlooked, such as hear instead of here. This section was more of that kind of edit and some cutting down and clearing up of details. I am still not geeked about this section, so you may see it again soon before I finish up the remaining chapters.

Previously.

Back to the Present…

“I wish these alarms would shut off,” Whiskers said louder than he would have liked. “They know we are here.”

Shrugging Puddles stepped around piles of garbage, constantly on the lookout for dangers or messes on the uneven floor. Alarms blaring, they moved cautiously through several tunnels and rooms, other than garbage, debris, and graffiti all empty. Standing in the middle of the third graffiti covered room; Whiskers looked at his skin watch two hours since they started this search. Puddles kicked over a table, scattering empty cans and vape inhalers. Her physical expression of frustration mirroring his internal frustration.

Walking over to Puddles he shouted, “They are not here. If they ever were. Looks like whomever was here left in a hurry.”

“I know. I want to know for sure,” gesturing at lopsided doorway, “let’s finish this up. Maybe we will get some answers.”

“If nothing else find the alarm controls.”

Puddles smirked before heading out the doorway. Whiskers nearly stumbled over Puddles peeking around a corner paw held up, something ahead. Stepping aside, Puddles gave Whiskers room to look around the corner. A white metal reinforced metal door, ajar bright light shining through the gap.

“No need to be quiet,” Puddles said.

Hefting her frying pan, she strode to the door and waited for Whiskers to catch up.

“Ready?”

“Yes,” he said drawing his katana stepping through the door into the bright room.

Following him in, frying pan and pistol ready, “Shit these lights are bright,” she exclaimed.

“The room is clear,” Whiskers announced.

They stood in white room, three white sealed suits hanging on pegs next to the door. Every surface in the room was white. Without warning the alarms shut off.

“Found the alarm controls,” Puddles announced from the other side of the room, “Everything else on this terminal has been wiped. Same with whatever they were working on at the tables.”

“Record what you find,” Whiskers ordered as he pulled out his phone, “hopefully someone can tell us what all of this was for.”

A half-hour recording holo-vid of the room and an adjacent room; the only visible clue small piles of white ash on tabletops and in cabinets. Whiskers found an exit. Following the exit tunnel to a hidden landing pad took another half-hour.

“This was unexpected,” Whiskers said.

“Feels like a set-up to me,” Puddles replied.

“Who and why?”

“Good questions. Let’s get out of here before someone comes back.”

“I need a shower,” Whiskers said looking at his gore-covered body.

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB An Hour Later

Previously.

An Hour Later…

Standing next to their car after taking Chuck home, Whiskers asked for a second time, “Are you sure about this?”

“It’s a sneak and peek,” gesturing towards Tumbledown, “shouldn’t be a problem at all. You got your gear?”

Adjusting his katana and tightening his belt, Whiskers nodded affirmative.

Finding Black Myst territory took less time than they expected, gangers walking around made entry difficult. An hour of searching dead ends, alleyways, rubble-strewn corridors, and tunnels they found an unguarded battered door covered in Black Myst graffiti. The thump of music from behind the door shook dust loose onto both of them. Puddles drew her pistol and frying pan and stood before the door. Whiskers, one paw on his katana, used the other to yank the door open.

Puddles leapt into the room, pistol and frying pan ready. Twenty-four drug hazed eyes starred back at her, the dozen vapeheads clustered around the room and a battered purple did not react other than to take a hit from a vaporizer.

“Nobody move!” Puddles shouted leveling her gun at the group.

All twelve vapeheads bolted for the door, rushing past Puddles, knocking her aside in their eagerness to escape. Puddles, positive she saw someone matching the daughter’s description did her best to keep an eye on her. Unfortunately, two black and red clad gangers, previously hidden by the vapeheads, stood up from the couch kicking an unconscious vapehead out the way.

“We’re moving,” the larger ganger growled while reaching for her waist.

“So this is how you want to play it,” Puddles said aiming her pistol at the mooks.

The door slammed into Whiskers as the vapeheads bolted out of the room. He saw a blonde haired woman run past.

The larger mook pulled a vaporizer from her waist and took a hit, instead of the euphoric glazed expression Puddles expected, pure rage and a primal scream as she charged across the room popping razorclaws and elbowblades. The other mook activated a personal bubble shield and drew a handcannon.

                “shit.”

Ducking underneath Razorclaw’s drug-fueled rage swipes, Puddles cracked her frying pan against the back of the mook’s knee. Expecting her to fall down, Puddles swung for where her head should have been. Pain flared across Puddles outstretched arm from the back swing of Razorclaw’s elbowblade. Blocking a follow through swipe of razorclaws with her frying pan Puddles came close to losing her grip from the impact. Trying to get some space, Puddles hopped back from Razorclaw.

BOOM!

Handcannon fired. A huge hole appeared in the wall next to the door. Whiskers flinched when the hole appeared in the wall, the shot killing an escaping vapehead. Eager to get into the room, Whiskers lashed out with a claw swipe, knocking the last vapehead out of the way. Whiskers charged into the room drawing his katana, the etching blazing blue.

Blocking another swipe of razorclaws with the frying pan, Puddles arm felt sore and heavy. Razorclaw was aggressive enough to keep Puddles from shooting her. Roaring and frothing at the mouth, Razorclaw swung at Puddles head, following through with elbowblades. Puddles ducked and scooted back against the wall.

BOOM!

“How about a truce?” Puddles shouted, while ducking and dodging Razaorclaw.

Razorclaw turned as Whiskers rushed past. A momentary distraction, but enough. Leaping forward, Puddles slammed her frying pan against the side of Razorclaw’s head and jammed her Manstopper into Razorclaws’ side, pulling the trigger three times rapidly.

Katana held in a low position holo-etching leaving a blue trail ran past as blood from Razorclaw sprayed over Whiskers’ left side. Handcannon could not hear Whiskers through the bubble shield and focused on killing Puddles did not react when Whiskers stepped through the bubbleshield. Whiskers blade passed through Handcannon’s right leg. As he swung his katana up and then down the blue trail created an arc, the katana decapitated Handcannon before he finished falling to the ground. With his foot, Whiskers deactivated the bubbleshield.

“…and that’s what you get!” With the shield down Whiskers could hear Puddles yelling at Razorclaw’s body.

Wiping the blood from his katana on Handcannon’s body Whiskers took note; one-half of his body was red and sticky.

“You look like…”

“Don’t.”

“Fine, I won’t. Guess we aren’t going to get any information from these two,” Puddles said sarcastically.

“Should we continue on?”

“Can’t be too much left. Right?” she said with a shrug.

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB Two Days Ago…

Here is the full revised Two Days ago. This round of washing and dry brushing is going slower, not because of the cons, those were breaks, but due to my effort to expand the story with details.

Previously.

Two days Ago…

“You’re positive you can get the information?” Puddles said.

“Trust me,” came the reply from Chuck’s image in the upper corner of the windshield.

Whiskers right ear leaned to the side emphasizing the doubt on his face. Puddles shrugged.

“We’re counting on you Chuck,” Puddles stated as she ended the call with the push of a button on the steering wheel.

Line disconnected, Puddles shook her head at Chuck and the traffic. She glanced over at Whiskers who continued working on his tablet oblivious to the traffic around the Bullet Magnet. The Stroud City Police Center for one half of Stroud, a three hundred story white tower, illuminated day and night, large holographic letters and images over the surfaces of the building announcing alerts, awards, and other news. Called by the Bullet Magnet because of the round entrances for traffic dotting the sides of the building, like someone sprayed gunfire at the building. Traffic around the Bullet Magnet, thick with flying vehicles entering and exiting the multiple flight lanes, made navigation a pain. Lining up her approach for the 40th-floor landing pad, Puddles turned on the autopilot and turned to Whiskers.

“What has you working hard?”

Looking up from his tablet, “Research.”

“Oh,” shaking her head. “What are you hoping to get from Detective Orte?”

“Current information on the gangs.”

“That could be useful. Anything about the doc’s daughters?”

“No. Chuck will get their CIS data.”

“If he remembers,” Puddles said sarcastically.

Two Stroud City black and yellow police vehicles fly past their car, lights flashing and sirens blaring. At the same time the landing chime sounded, Puddles turned to take control if necessary. Through the rounded entry to the 40th-floor landing pad, she watched non-stop motion police and civilian vehicles flying in, out, taking off, and landing. Police Officers in their black and yellow uniforms and citizens in all sorts of uniforms moving all over the place. Puddles briefly wondered where their car would land without hitting another vehicle or crushing someone underneath. As quickly as the thought flashed through her head, the car landed without incident.

Whiskers put away his tablet and checked his skin watch, “Five minutes to our appointment.”

“Lead the way,” she responded as a blast of air nearly knocked her back into her seat.

Following the illuminated path to the station entrance, gusts of wind pushed their fur in uncomfortable directions. Vehicles entering and leaving, crews working, and gusts of wind kept Puddles head on a swivel, constantly turning towards the newest distraction. One-step through the entrance and the wind ceased, the noise quieted down to an acceptable level, and the temperature returned to comfortable. Puddles and Whiskers spent a few moments putting errant fur back into place before continuing down the hallway into the station. Following Whiskers, Puddles regretted making the trip, too many people in uniform, too much noise, and most of all she hated being inside police stations. Nothing ever positive ever came from a visit to a police station. Thankfully, Whiskers knew the location of Detective Orte’s office.

Sitting in Detective Orte’s office, listening to Whiskers and him talk, Puddles could not stop staring at Detective Orte’s mustache. Long, dark black, hanging past his chin plate and every time he spoke, the entire moustache wiggled and waved, totally in contrast to his deep, gravelly voice and menacing disposition. Looking away, Puddles observed his office decorated with commendations, holos of him with local officials, and one moving holo of him carrying two children away from an explosion. Impressive career and yet each time she looked at him she worked hard to suppress a chuckle.

Stepping onto the landing port the wind pushed their fur back uncomfortably again. On his tablet, Whiskers swiped through several pages of data that Detective Orte gave them about the gangs of Tumbledown, “Puddles, you should read this, seems that several of the gangs are being financed by local corporations through backchannels. At least that is how this report reads; upgraded weapons, cyber, and so on.”

Before Puddles could respond her phone chirped, flipping her phone open, “You got Puddles. Oh hi mom.”

Whiskers smiled, he enjoyed the mental and verbal gymnastics Puddles had to go through when her mother called unexpectedly. The conversation continued across the hover port despite the high winds and sounds of vehicles coming and going.

“Fine. I’m on a case. Yes, on a case. Do you want to talk to Whiskers, he’s right here. Fine. Okay mom. Yes, I will return the frying pan.” With that Puddles closed her phone and gave Whiskers her “what are you going to do” face.

“You really should buy your own frying pan,” he said as he opened the car doors.

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB Two Days Ago…

Previously.

Thank you readers looking for Puddles and Whiskers for wading through all of the Motor City Comic Con posts. This is an expanded first half of Two Days Ago. There is a second half, but that will be next week…because the weirdness I wrote about expecting has a little while longer to go. At least Wil Wheaton and a high-five happened. 🙂

Two days ago…

“You’re positive you can get the information?” Puddles said.

“Trust me,” came the reply from Chuck’s image in the upper corner of the windshield.

Whiskers right ear leaned to the side emphasizing the doubt on his face. Puddles shrugged.

“We’re counting on you Chuck,” Puddles stated as she ended the call with the push of a button on the steering wheel.

Line disconnected, Puddles shook her head at Chuck and the traffic. She glanced over at Whiskers who continued working on his tablet oblivious to the traffic around the Bullet Magnet. The Stroud City Police Center for one half of Stroud, a three hundred story white tower, illuminated day and night, large holographic letters and images over the surfaces of the building announcing alerts, awards, and other news. Called by the Bullet Magnet because of the round entrances for traffic dotting the sides of the building, like someone sprayed gunfire at the building. Traffic around the Bullet Magnet, thick with flying vehicles entering and exiting the multiple flight lanes, made navigation a pain. Lining up her approach for the 40th-floor landing pad, Puddles turned on the autopilot and turned to Whiskers.

“What has you working hard?”

Looking up from his tablet, “Research.”

“Oh,” shaking her head. “What are you hoping to get from Detective Orte?”

“Current information on the gangs.”

“That could be useful. Anything about the doc’s daughters?”

“No. Chuck will get their CIS data.”

“If he remembers,” Puddles said sarcastically.

Two Stroud City black and yellow police vehicles fly past their car, lights flashing and sirens blaring. At the same time the landing chime sounded, Puddles turned to take control if necessary. Through the rounded entry to the 40th-floor landing pad, she watched non-stop motion police and civilian vehicles flying in, out, taking off, and landing. Police Officers in their black and yellow uniforms and citizens in all sorts of uniforms moving all over the place. Puddles briefly wondered where their car would land without hitting another vehicle or crushing someone underneath. As quickly as the thought flashed through her head, the car landed without incident.

Whiskers put away his tablet and checked his skin watch, “Five minutes to our appointment.”

“Lead the way,” she responded as a blast of air nearly knocked her back into her seat.