By Tim Rhys ■贺丹 注
Chapter 4—A Guided Tour
An octopus<注1> swim up the front steps and in through the doorway of the National Gallery.<注2> Long ago, art-lovers and tourists used to walk up those steps to see the famous paintings. Now the only visitors are fish, looking for food. I was deep underwater, gazing at the ruins of Trafalgar Square. And I was drowning.<注3>
I could only move one arm. My legs were still paralysed<注4> because of the nerve gun. Directly above me, the London tour bus was pulling up its anchor, ready to pull out of Trafalgar Bay.<注5>As the anchor sped up through the water, I had an idea. It was only a few metres away. With one arm, I swam towards it, reached out and caught it as it passed. Together we flew up to the surface. We burst through into the air and I took a deep breath.
The water bus pulled out across the Bay. I clung onto the side and hoped the police wouldn't see me. I looked back and saw them leaning over the edge of the police boat, shining torches<注6> into the water. I heard one of them shout, "He must have drowned."
The effects of the nerve gun began to wear off,<注7> so I climbed up into the bus, and sat next to a friendly, old couple. They were Olga and Ivan Obelisk from Moscow—on their first visit to London. At the front of the bus, the tour guide stood up and spoke.
"This area is called the West End.<注8> For more than a thousand years, it has been London's famous Theatre-land."
She smiled—a huge, white, shining smile. I suddenly realised she was made entirely of plastic. I groaned. Another stupid robot. Why can't we have a human tour guide?
We passed a couple of theatres. They had large flashing holograms<注9> advertising the live performances inside.
One said, "Blood Brothers? The Musical, now in its 1013th glorious year."<注10> In the theatre next door, The Mousetrap<注11> was still playing, after one thousand and forty five years—the world's longest running play.
"Tonight's performance features an all-new cast of robot actors."
On the hologram screen, they were showing a live interview between the director and a theatre critic.<注12> The critic was not impressed:
—I didn't enjoy the show. Those robots were too mechanical. You should have kept the human actors.
—But you don't understand. These robots can continue performing this play twice a day for the next fifty years. We don't have to pay them. We just have to replace their parts. It will cut our costs by 70 percent.
—It's bad news for actors, though.
God, I hate robots.
I sat back to enjoy the rest of the tour, and to think about what I was going to do next.
My thoughts were:
1) I definitely won't be going to visit the police again;
2) I must try to find Plummet;
3) I need to get some globs<注13> (global credits) and a place to sleep the night; ... and4) What is that horrible voice whispering in my head?
"It's me—Dr Webber. I've been looking for you, Serge." I looked around but I couldn't see Dr Webber anywhere. "You're hearing voices in your head, Serge. You're mentally ill."Now I was in real trouble. Escaping from the police was much easier than this. How can you escape from a voice inside your head?<注14>