On a good day, Dwin would best describe Dispatcher Kevin Lockbolt as a miserable person to be around. After all, dispatchers were not properly compensated for the additional roles and responsibilities thrust upon them. To make matters worse, it was widely known that Lockbolt’s second marriage was coming to an end and that he was on the losing end of that transaction. Dwin knew his frustrated manager would make this one hurt.
Dwin entered the office with caution and took a seat beside Kip. Dispatcher Lockbolt could be intimidating to say the least. He was a huge, hairy, hulking mass of a creature. He had originally belonged to the powerful race of apes that inhabited the Simioid star system. The apes of Simioid had worked for thousands of years to enhance their already above average strength through robotics, so Lockbolt boasted one hell of a cybernetic arm. Dwin didn’t want to think about the damage that could be inflicted if Lockbolt became unhinged. Dwin wasn’t cut out for hand to hand combat and Kip… well, he was a lover not a fighter. The two would be no match for Kevin Lockbolt. Dwin prepared to take his punishment without protest. Hopefully Kip would do the same and they would both have jobs at the end of the day.
“Gentlemen, here we are again,” said an exhausted Kevin Lockbolt. “I just got off the voicecom with with a woman who claims you charged her son 20 U-Creds for an autographed 8 x 10. First off, I want you to hand over every single headshot you have stashed away Sparks. And then I want you both to thank the almighty space mother above that I’ve decided not to send the both of you home for good! And before you open that smelly, cold sore ridden mouth of yours Sparks, no, we will not be adding any fruit juice to the vending machine!”
Kevin sat behind his desk, rubbing his eyes. Dwin knew this wasn’t going to end well.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this men.” Lockbolt continued. “I can’t cut you loose because for one thing, Dwin, you’re a damn fine medic. You’ve just got no spine.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Dwin.
“The other reason… Sparks… Director Wildacre seems to think rather highly of you. You remind her of her days as a rock groupie or something along those lines… which makes me feel physically ill so let’s stop talking about it.”
“Good ol’ Janet,” Kip said. “How is she these days?”
Lockbolt ignored Kip’s inquiry and continued on.
“I’ve decided to remove the two of you from active service in the city for the time being. Gentleman, you are now officially the first mobile medical unit assigned to Edge detail. Hope you’ve kept up your vaccination schedule,” said Lockbolt.
“Well, I know I have sir,” said Dwin. “But–”
“Stop right there,” said Lockbolt. “Consider this a timeout Michaels. I can sense your disappointment. However, I believe your partner needs to learn what it means to serve the U.C. with honor and dignity. He’ll need your help to do that. Plus, I want Sparks as far away from me as possible. Looking at that map on the wall, Edge detail is about as far out as you can get.”
Dwin slowly rose to his feet. He knew there was no sense in arguing. Lockbolt was kind not to remove them from active duty entirely. As he reached for the door, he heard Kip pipe up behind him.
“Look. Can’t you just assign him a new partner, brah? I’m sorry. I’ll dial back the theatrics!” said Kip.
“Listen ‘brah’, the only chance you have at becoming a worthy member of this profession is to change every fundamental thing about you as a person. We’re done here. Gather your equipment and head out. Edge detail awaits.” said Lockbolt.
Dwin left the office with his head held low. He had fallen as far as a city medic could fall without being terminated. He felt a warm sensation brewing in his gut as he fought desperately to maintain a calm outward appearance. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to fantasize for a moment about what it might feel like to possess a robotic arm. In his mind he used his shiny metallic fist to clamp down on his partner’s throat, slowly tightening his grip until Kip could no longer breathe. Dwin let the thought linger for a few seconds and then quickly banished it from memory. He was stuck with Kip, and he had to find a way to make the relationship work.