#18 The Vertons

After being refused a pass to the Maintenance Dome Kenom asked for a voice transfer into which he pushed some numbers. He waited a moment then said, “May I speak to the Special Patrolman Dorn in Dome Security please, this is Patrolman Kenom speaking.” The Flexlord glanced up from his magazine when he heard the word “Dome Security“, but continued to read his magazine.

“Hello, Patrolman Dorn?, this is Patrolman Kenom,……. fine thank you sir, I called because I am over here in Patroldome 7 and I am trying to get a pass to visit the Maintenance dome,…yes that’s right…. but the Flexlord on duty“, ….turning to the Lord…“what is your name sir?”..The Lord had now put down his magazine and was sitting up in his chair thinking he may just have gotten himself in a bit of a jam…“Flexlord Lunt” he said. “Flexlord Lunt tells me that Zimmnil patrolman are not allowed to go there…..Yes of course..” Kenom handed the voice transfer over to Flexlord Lunt and said, “Special Patrolman Dorn would like a word with you” The Flexlord stood up at attention, took the voice transfer. “Yes sir….yes sir….yes sir…right away sir…yes sir…I understand sir..right away sir”

Flexlord Lunt hung up the voice transfer and quickly pulled a pass from his desk. He filled it out and handed it to Kenom. “Sorry sir,” he said, “Here is your pass.” Kenom gave the Lord a stern look, took the pass and returned to is module. This may turn out to be more difficult than I thought he said to himself as he rolled down the tunnel.

When he arrived back at the maintenance tunnel guard station, the guard was standing smartly at attention. “Please proceed.” he said not even bothering to look at Kenom’s pass. Apparently word travels fast around here Kenom thought to himself. As he continued down the tunnel it got darker and darker. It had a rather eerie feeling about it. When he arrived at the entrance to the dome he got out of his module and slowly walked into the dome. He was appalled at what he saw. The floor was littered with electro-parts. The walls and ceiling of the dome were all covered with organic mold, - the smell was stifling. Vertons were setting or laying around in all sorts of disrepair, some with no Flextose covering at all. Many had inoperable body parts, legs, arms, feet, hands, -it was appalling. The Vertons looked at him as if they had never seen a Zimtel patrolman before. They said nothing, just stared.

Suddenly a voice came out of a small room to his left. "Hello there, aren't you the guy from the module I met on tunnel #3?" It was the Verton #45. "Yes, it's me, Patrolman Kenom, from Mini-dome C." "I can't believe you actually came out here," said #45, "how did you ever get by the guard?" "Never mind that, what is going on in here? Why is this place in such a mess?" "I am so sorry you have to see us this way," replied 45, "if we had known you were coming we....." "This is appalling," interrupted Kenom, "who is responsible for this? Who is in command?" "Well," said 45, "no one is actually in command here, we get our work orders from Patrol Dome #7.... Flecklord Gleen, he's in charge over there." "Yes, go on." said Kenom. "Well, one of his Flecklords tells us what needs to be done and we do our best to get it done. That's about it."

"But does Master Lector know what condition your dome and your workers are in?" "Well,..I guess not...well.. maybe...I don't know,.. we have to conceal the fact that we are electro people you know. We have to pretend to be organic, ...you know... we more or less stay out of sight, and don't complain to anyone." "But how about the Zimtels, certainly they know you are electro people, why haven't you asked them for help?" "We’re not allowed into Central Dome. I don't think the Zimtellions ever give us a thought, except when some tunnel track is down and they miss an appointment or something. Then they have the Flecktons get after us. We tried to get help from them a few war seasons ago, and they'll send us some used body parts now and then, but as a rule, they do very little. ... it's complicated.....you know....politics. We do the best we can with what we've got." "Well I think it is an outrage," said Kenom, "no electro-people should be treated in this fashion. Tell me, what is your most pressing need?" "Well," said 45, "what we really need is a couple of generators ours broke down six war seasons ago. We get all our power now from Dome #7. As you know, our electro bodies need a lot of power for regeneration. Flexlord Glenn keeps cutting down on our power. He says, "Work harder and you will get more power." But how can we work harder without enough power?. If we had enough power we could get our body-rebuilding department going again,... we would be able to work much better, and certainly look much better too, that's for sure."

"Do they have any generators in dome #7?" asked Kenom. "They say they don't, but we have seen them, they have a lot of them in their supply department. They use them to run their sport training facility." "That's unbelievable," said Kenom, "I intend to report this to matter to Dome Security over at Central Dome Headquarters at once." "That would be most appreciated." said 45. "I'll do what I can for you," said Kenom, "you have my word on it." 45 smiled and said, "You're very kind to go out of your way for us."

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