Charlie 25

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...an original story written by Doug, KB7RKY, specifically for Fembot Central. The usual "don't copy this and call it your own" schpiel applies.

You can make a copy for yourself, if you want, but don't be trying to pass it off as your own, at least without telling me, okay? Otherwise, I'll have to send out Strongbad to pummel you into unconsciousness! Thanks!


"Good morning, Notta Police Department."

"Well, if you're not a police department, then who should I call?"

"Don't blame us, ma'am...that's what the city founders named the town..."

"Of course..."

The dispatch officer was fielding numerous calls as Captain Graham walked in.

"Is Chief King in?" he asked.

The dispatch officer pointed to the chief's door.

"Good...thanks," he said as he opened the door.

"Yes, dear...wait...yes...okay...um...okay...yes, I'm writing it all down," King was saying as Graham entered. The chief motioned for the captain to sit down.

Graham chuckled as King rolled his eyes. "Yes, dear...yes...I promise...okay...I have to go...the captain just walked in...yes...I will...okay, really have to go now, dear...I said I would...yes...okay...honey, really, really have to go..."

Graham cupped his hands over his mouth. "Chief King to the dispatch center, please...Chief King to dispatch."

"Honey...really, really, REALLY have to go, now...they just paged me...okay...love you, too. 'Bye!" He hung up the phone and let out a frustrated breath. "Captain, let me warn you about getting married..."

"For the 10,000th time," Graham said, chuckling.

"You're keeping track?"

"Not really...just a number I made up. What's up?"

"Take a look at this." King handed Graham a folder.

"Okay...this is our budget. So, why show me?"

"Take a look at Page 9," King said.

Graham flipped to Page 9 and looked at the text.

Police Chief (yearly) - $45,000
Police Captain (yearly) - $40,000
Police Officers (yearly) - 8 @ $35,000 = $280,000
Dispatch/911 Operator (yearly) - 3 @ $35,000 = $105,000
K-9 unit (yearly) - 1 officer = $35,000
Cruisers (marked)- 6 @ $50,000 each = $400,000
Cruisers (unmarked) - 2 @ $50,000 each = $100,000
Motorcycle - 1 @ $10,000 = $10,000
Equipment (radios, weapons, etc.) = $100,000
=========================================
Total Budget: $1,115,000
Total Used YTD: $1,045,000

"Okay...so, what's the big deal?" Graham asked.

"How many officers do we have, besides you, the K-9 Unit, and Dispatch?" King asked.

"Hmm...6," Graham said.

"And, there's you and me...so, that leaves us 2 officers short, or $70,000 over budget," King said. "But, we can apply that overage to some new equipment."

Graham paused a moment. "So, what did you have in mind?"

King took out several folders. "I've been looking at some automated equipment from Robo Depot, Boomers R Us, and TDD Labs, Incorporated," King said, handing the folders to Graham.

The captain began thumbing through the folders. "Jeremy...we certainly can't afford a robot...I mean, geez, the Spokane PD has 'Elvis', fer chrissake, and Seattle has that bomb-squad robot, and then there's the Everett and Anacortes PD, and King County PD. All we have is a drug-sniffing dog, and..."

"I know that, Doug...but, look at TDD Labs' brochure," King said. "I think we could use their 'Charlie 25' robot here..."

Graham raised an eyebrow as he flipped through the TDD Labs' folder. "Interesting...she looks real enough. What could we use it for?"

King shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? We could certainly use anything we can get our hands on...and help lower the crime rate..."

"Ah...I see what you're getting at," Graham said. "I saw something like this in California a few years ago. They used a mannequin in a cruiser to make people think there was a cop in a high traffic area..."

"Yeah, but take a look at the description," King said. "That ain't no mannequin."

Graham looked at the ad closer. "Charlie 25...anthropomorphic female appearance...utilizes the latest in artificial intelligence...Pentium 99 processor...Washington, Idaho, and Oregon POST-Certified...completely ambulatory...high-capacity power cells...integrated 2-way radio/cell phone...binocular vision...full-color TFT direct visual feed...Kevlar composite frame...multiple-function police-oriented devices" He stopped. "Holy crap! Sounds like Inspector Gadget..."

King grinned. "Obviously not...and, it's built like a woman. Imagine that?"

Graham frowned. "Okay, so it's built like a woman...and...?"

"Less threatening in appearance," King said. "We send a male officer to bust someone...we usually have to get Anacortes to send their SWAT Team. If we send a woman...specifically, this android...the suspects are more likely to comply."

Graham scratched his chin. "Okay...so, let me get this straight. You wanna tell the Notta City Council we need to use that remaining $70,000 for a police robot that looks like a woman..."

"So we don't have to rely on Anacortes' SWAT Team so much..."

"And hopefully, we'll be able to reduce the crime here?"

"Pretty much."

"You know, this smells funny," Graham said.

"It costs us $15,000 each time we have to call Anacortes to assist us...and we're $45,000 in the hole to them right now."

"Okay, so how much does this 'Charlie 25' cost?"

King shifted in his seat. "Well...she's in beta test, according to the specs sheet, so it wouldn't cost us anything."

Graham coughed. "Holy crap! Free is always good."

"And, at the end of the test period, we have the option of keeping her for 1/2 price, or sending her back."

Graham nodded. "Hell...I'm willing to give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen?"

King thrust an order form at Graham. "YOU get to place the order."

"I had to ask," Graham said.

...to be continued...


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