Nico let out a long, loud meow, insisting on Zark’s attention.
“Oh my God, why you are so annoying?!” Zark said. “I don’t know how she puts up with you.”
“I thought she was gonna pick her up yesterday.” Zedd said, grabbing his bag.
“Yeah, I thought so too.”
“Well, she can hang out in the shop and explore. Lena can pick her up later.”
Zedd opened the door of their loft apartment to the stairway that descended into the shop. The overhead lights came on as he and Zark stepped through, illuminating the vast room below.
Zedd called to their new android as he walked down the stairs, “Ellis, can you pour us a couple cups of coffee?”
He turned to Zark. “I think we should test the weight restrictions of the front fork. If we replaced the fairings with a material that was more durable, I think she would be much more formidable, and less likely to be a target for pushing around. We can make Vela the biggest, baddest motherf--” Zedd broke off. He entered their break room to find Ellis hadn’t even started the coffeemaker. “Ellis! Can you please make us some coffee!”
“Ellis!” he yelled again, when he didn’t receive an answer.
Zedd exited the room , and peeked around the corners for any sign of Ellis.
“Where’d he go?”
Zedd turned to Zark. Zark shrugged.
Zedd signed. “We did this for years without him. Let’s get to work,” he decided. “He’ll turn up. Probably took a sick day.”
Zark rolled his eyes.
For the better part of the morning, Zedd and Zark disassembled the front fork of Vela. With the fork fully removed, they were able to test the stress capabilities of the mechanism. They conducted multiple tests before realizing it was past noon. By then, they fully realized their lack of efficiency.
Ellis remained absent. Zedd thought he should call his MRL representative, to let him know there was possibly a defect in Ellis’s automated scheduling or GPS coordination. He would wait a day or so in case Ellis returned.
What genuinely began to concern Zedd was Lena’s absence. She was usually in the shop by ten. He decided to call her.
The call went straight to voicemail. He sent her a message instead.
Everything ok? Are you coming in today?
Hours went by with no response.
“Maybe she’s the one with the sick day. Where did you say she went?” Zedd asked.
“She didn’t say exactly.” Zark replied. “Said she was going camping.”
Zedd laughed heartily at this.
“Yeah, ok,” he agreed sarcastically.
Zark shrugged. He sighed deeply.
“If we don’t hear from her by the end of the day, I’ll try calling again. She probably caught a cold or something out there in the woods.”
The day ended without a sign of Ellis or Lena.
They worked late. Zark was worried. Lena might be in actual trouble. Did Ellis’s disappearance have anything to do with hers? Zark decided to consult Ellis’s User Manual.
He looked it over for anything regarding “missing unit”. No luck. He did however, find a third-party GPS service that could track devices if you knew the product key. Zark had luckily paired to Ellis’s OS the week before and found the key tucked away in an About folder saved to his celltab. Zark entered the number into the search engine and waited.
A top-down view map appeared on his celltab screen, but it didn’t look familiar. Right in the center of the map was a red dot. Zark hovered over it. It was Ellis’s last synced location. A small window appeared when he clicked on the dot.
Last Sync: July 7 13:14