Chapter Eight: One Bot and a Baby
Chief Burns slowly seated himself at his kitchen table, relaxing into the plastic chair with a wordless sigh and lifted the mug in his hand, inhaling the warm, bitter smell of his black coffee. "Peace and quiet," he chuckled softly, basking in the simple tranquility. He raised the mug to his lips, about to savor the coffee he had been so deprived of, when—
"Dad! I can't find the robo-baby!"
Charlie sighed, setting the mug down with a clack. "Well, it was nice while it lasted. What is it, Kade?"
There was the sound of heavy, continuous footfalls from the floor above before the young man came tromping down the stairs, skidding to a stop before the kitchen table, hair askew and arms in the air.
"That's it! It's been kidnapped!" Kade cried on the verge of hysteria, large hands flying to cover his head in horrified realization. "Call the police! Bring the whole squadron!"
Charlie, not having moved from his seat at the kitchen table, only quirked a brow at his oldest son's theatrics, entirely nonplussed. "First of all, Kade," he began, swishing around the untouched coffee in his mug, "I am the police, and there's not really much of a squadron. Second, what do you mean that the robo-baby's gone?"
"It's just gone!" Kade said desperately. "The little monster was sleeping in his carriage by my window, and then poof!"
Chief set his coffee mug down again, rubbing his brow with a weary sigh. "And have you alerted the others?" Kade nodded wordlessly.
Charlie groaned, but rose back onto his aching feet. It seemed as if his coffee would have to wait.
"Cody?" Charlie said, a finger to the com link on his collar. "Cody, come in."
"Hi, Dad," the boy answered after a moment, his voice nearly drowned out by the sound of rushing wind in the background.
"Cody, where are you?" Chief demanded.
"Uh…not riding Doc's experimental turbo-cycle?"
The police man groaned. "Fine, never mind. But we have a situation—the robo-baby's gone."
"Kade was supposed to watch it!" Cody yelped in alarm.
"Yes, I know," Chief said calmly, "now do you have any idea of where the thing could've gone?"
Cody was quiet a moment. "Do you have the bots looking?"
"Then tell them to look in the same place as last time. And hurry."
"Understood," Charlie said, disconnecting the line to contact the others. "Everyone, we're moving out!"
"Heatwave, where are you? We need to go find the robo-baby! Get your shiny, metal backside up here now!"
The bot in question scoffed at his partner's tirade, pausing in his pummeling of the training post to answer. "Oh please," he scowled, "as if I'd go on some pointless search for that Sparkless machine. Go without me."
Kade mutter sourly over the com before predictably signing off. Heatwave took a moment to bask in the rare victory before stepping off of the platform.
He stood in the empty common room of the bunker for several seconds, listening for the telltale whir of either elevator. When none presented itself he smugly strolled over to one of the smaller and forgotten storage rooms, pulling the human sized door open.
Within, buried headfirst in a cardboard box filled to the brim with packing peanuts was the robo-baby, struggling fruitlessly to escape with muffled whimpers. Heatwave quickly bent down, reaching one massive arm into the room and helped the robotic infant out of his cardboard prison, depositing it into his servo.
Heatwave retracted his arm and closed the door, lifting his cupped servo so that he could clearly see the robo-baby. As if reading its guardian's mind, the infant babbled cutely, falling into its back and reaching for the bot. Heatwave allowed a rare smile to cross his faceplates and lowered a digit from the opposite servo for the infant. The robo-baby swiftly latched onto the appendage, and Heatwave chuckled warmly, heading for the living area of the bunker, with its couches and flat screen TV.
"Don't worry, kid," the bot murmured comfortingly, "Uncle Heatwave won't let that idiot human near ya. How about we watch a romantic comedy?"