“Come on, buddy. Don’t die on me.” The cop shouted over the siren and the sound of screeching tires.
“Technically, I can’t die.” His partner said serenely even as his vital fluids leaked onto the floorboards.
The cop paid no attention and pressed the accelerator harder even though it was already to the floor. The pain in his leg intensified. He willed himself not to pass out even as he could feel the bullet being pinched between his straining muscles.
“You called me buddy. I thought you hated me and my kind.” His partner said. Still in his calm, matter-of-fact way. As if he were watching the drama on holovision instead of living it first hand.
“Yeah. Well. A man taking a bullet for you and carrying you to safety changes your outlook on things. And you took what, a dozen for me?” The cop said, sliding the car around another corner.
“Seventeen, actually. But I’m not a man.”
“Bullshit. I don’t care what you’re made of. You’re a man in my book.”
“Thank you. I know you meant that as a compliment.”
The cop stole a sideways glance at his partner, not sure whether he was serious or not. His partner began to laugh at his expression. Despite the burning from the bullet lodged in his abdomen, the cop laughed too.
“Well, at least I taught you how to bust balls.”
The cop careened around the corner, almost colliding with a bread truck.
“So what the hell happened, anyway? I thought you guys were supposed to be, like, indestructible. I mean, ain’t that why they partnered us up?”
“I guess that’s what happens when you build a better mousetrap. Someone just builds a better mouse. Those bullets they were using. They were something new. Much more powerful than conventional ammunition.”
The cop made a right turn.
“Where are you going? The hospital is the other way.”
“I’m going. I just need to drop you off at the depot for repairs first.”
“No. Go to the hospital. You’re losing blood at an alarming rate.”
“Yeah. Well. You ain’t exactly holding your fluids in either buddy.”
“My body is replaceable. Yours is not. Besides, this one is beyond repair. They’ll just salvage what they can and send the rest to the scrapyard. Now I insist, turn around and go to the hospital.”
The cop did as he was instructed and spun the car in a perfect half-circle. His bullet wounds throbbed with the added Gs. Soon they were pulling up to the emergency doors of the hospital.
“Come on!” The cop yelled to his partner as he threw the door open.
“You go ahead. I can’t. Not enough hydraulic pressure.”
“Bullshit. You’re coming.” The cop said, running around to the passenger side and yanking the door open. He grabbed his partner around the shoulders and pulled, but it was no use.
“You can’t lift me. I am too heavy.”
“No kidding, buddy. You need to lay off the donuts.”
“You will have to leave me. Before you go, please do something for me.” His partner said, opening the maintenance port on his right temple. “This body is done for. Please take this.”
He didn’t have to specify what “this” was. He meant his CPU. The chip that made him who he was.
“You know, after all we’ve been through, I just realized I never even got your name.”
“My serial number is…”
“No, no, no. I mean your name. Jesus. Hasn’t anyone ever given you a name you can call yourself?”
“Just… one.” He said slowly, as if his batteries were running low.
“Oh yeah? What’s that?”
“Buuuudddyyyyyyy…” He said, and then went still.
“Max.” The cop said to nobody.
He gingerly pulled the chip from Buddy’s head, trying not to look as the blue lights faded from his eyes. He slipped the chip into his pocket as the sky began to darken. He didn’t even feel his head bouncing off the hood of the car as he fell.
. . .
When he woke up days later, his captain was sitting by his bed, reading a newspaper.
“Hey cap.” The cop croaked.
“‘Bout time your lazy ass woke up.” The captain said, looking over his newspaper. “Glad you’re back in the world. We’ve got work to do.”
“You weren’t the only cop that got attacked with those new bullets.”
“No. You were just the only survivor. We’ve got to get you back on your feet so you can help us track these scumbags down. I ordered you a new partner. He should be ready in a couple of days.”
“Bring me my stuff. It should be around here somewhere.”
The captain quickly returned with a small bag.
“Your clothes are in evidence, but this is the stuff you had in your pockets.”
Max dug around until he found what he was looking for. He blew the pocket lint off of it and handed it to the captain.
“You know damned well what it is. Put it in the new unit.”
“Your new partner will have a chip of its own.”
“I’m not training another goddamned rookie! Now get me my partner back!” He shouted before fainting against his pillow.