Meanwhile in Space…
Episode 75: The Unnatural City, Part X: Lead Us Not Into Temptation
Timmy quickly went to work on figuring out how to free Sundance and the others. There were computers next to each pod that relayed information to the mother computer. She already knew that Timmy was free, what is she going to care that a few more were freed? He didn’t doubt that he could open all of the pods, he doubted the amount of time he had before the robot reinforcements came, and they were coming. There had to be an easier way of doing this.
He approached the computer that sat next to Sundance’s pod. He looked at his hands and wondered if he could make his special ability work one more time. He placed his right hand on the computer and watched as the computer screen fuzzed up. A rush came over Timmy like a wave of water crashing on him. There was so much information that was running through his brain. He was surprised by how quickly he was able to read the robots’ language without needing a book for translation. He found the functions for the pods in the electronic sea of information and activated the opening sequences.
Timmy jumped at the sound of hissing as the hundreds of pods depressured. Sundance’s pod opened behind him. Timmy let go of the computer and watched as the lid of the pod slid open. Sundance coughed as he came to. He looked up at Timmy and smiled.
“Welcome back to the land of the living, Captain,” Timmy said. He helped pulled the tubes ciphoning blood from Sundance’s bare chest.
“What happened, Timmy?” Sundance asked, getting to his feet and shivering. “Where the hell are we?”
“That’s a long story,” Timmy shouted over the loud alarm. “Help me get the others out of their pods. We don’t have much time!”
Sundance looked down at himself and cried out. “Where the hell are my clothes? Whose underwear is this?”
Sundance snapped back into the moment and tried to make sense of what was happening. He followed Timmy and helped Astralyn and Colonel Graves out of their pods. Once they were safely disconnected from the tubes, they stood up and tried to catch their bearings admist the chaos that was happening around them.
Timmy saw that while all of the pods were opening, not everyone was getting out. He took a deep breath and sighed. He had been hoping that he would be able to save everyone. He couldn’t dwell on the dead; he had to find a way to get the living out and keep them that way.
The kidnapped scientists were beginning to get upset. They were cold, mostly naked, and had no idea where they were. Timmy tried to comfort the ones that were near him. He pushed his way to the front of the crowd and got everyone’s attention.
“Can I have your attention, please? I can only say this once because I don’t know how much time I have.” Timmy stared into the scared faces of the scientists and friends. He wanted to tell them what was going on without freaking them out too much, but he was right, there wasn’t much time to sugar coat. “We’ve been kidnapped by the flesh eating robots that laid dormant under the city for years. They were harvesting our blood to feed themselves. We are currently locked in one of their factories.” Timmy heard the murmurs from the crowd of twenty scientists and tried to talk over them and the alarms. “Don’t worry, we are leaving right now. I need everyone to stay close together, don’t push, and follow us!”
Timmy pushed his way back to Sundance who had found their laser pistols.
“Ready for this?” Sundance asked.
“Of course,” Timmy said, smiling at him. He looked to Astralyn and Colonel Graves and saw that they were ready to get out of there. “Captain and I will lead the way out. Astralyn, Colonel, you take the rear and hold off the robots as much as you can.”
“I thought we killed those things,” Astralyn said. She gripped her laser pistol and nodded her agreement. “Let’s kill ‘em again!”
Timmy found the door and the group followed closely behind him. There was a control panel just to the right of the door. He pressed his hand on it and waited for it to open. It refused to acquiesce so Timmy shot it. The door slid opened and granted them access to the outside.
Sundance and Timmy led the way into the dark underground tunnels. “You do know where we’re going, right?” Sundance asked.
Timmy just looked at him and nodded. In reality, he wasn’t all that sure. He had accessed a lot of information when he freed the remaining scientists from their pods. He might have seen schematics of the underground base, he might not have. He just hoped that they would pass another access panel on their way out, then he could put his new talent to the test.
With laser pistols set to “KILL”, the two moved down the tunnel to the east, or what they thought was east. The alarm gave no signs of stopping. The people closely followed with Astralyn and Colonel Graves bringing up the rear. Everyone kept their eyes open for robots and jumped at every corner they turned, expecting the worst.
Timmy found another access panel. “Watch this,” Timmy said to Sundance. He pressed his hand against it and it momentarily turned pale blue.
Sundance’s eyes widened as he watched this. “Timmy, what are you doing?” His first instinct was to shoot the panel, but Timmy stopped him. Sundance didn’t know what else to do, so he watched.
Timmy closed his eyes as his mind fell back into the electronic sea. He searched around for the information he sought. He found codes for locked doors. He committed them to memory and hoped they would come in handy. As he searched, he felt a malevolent presence come at him. He immediately knew it was the Mother Computer coming to stop him. He decided the time for showing off was done. He found the plans for the tunnel and mapped out exactly where they needed to go. He opened his eyes again and grinned at Sundance. He waved his hand and flexed his fingers. “I know where we’re going now.”
Sundance looked confused. “What did you just do? Wait, you mean you didn’t know where you were going before? But you said…”
“Ahh, guys!” Astralyn shouted from the back. She looked behind her and listened to the sound of hard footsteps. The robots were coming for them. The scientists started to get antsy and panic. “I think we’re going to have some company!”
“Now would be a good time to move,” suggested the colonel.
“This way,” Timmy commanded. He ran ahead of the group to scout out the way. The tunnel led to T section where they could either turn left or right. Timmy thought back to the images he saw in the mainframe. He turned left and the group followed. He followed the tunnel until it led to a dead end. “What? But there’s supposed to be a tunnel here.”
Timmy turned around and saw the group rounding the corner. “Go back, this isn’t the way!” He motioned for the group to turn around. Sundance started to look irritated.
“Just a wrong turn, Captain,” Timmy explained, dismissing Sundance’s concern. He didn’t want to think about the possibility of Sundance losing faith in him. He had to lead them to freedom, their lives depended on it.
Timmy pushed his way to the back of the group and joined Colonel Graves and Astralyn. “Let’s go down this way and see if we can’t get out of here.”
“Are you sure you know where we’re going, Timmy?” Astralyn asked as she helped usher some of the scientists down the tunnel.
“Yes, I have the map in my mind,” Timmy replied, but he didn’t tell her that he was starting to doubt the validity of the map. He continued to lead them past the T section and travelled where they would have made a right. He prayed that this was the correct way out.
The tunnel turned left at the corner. Timmy felt his heart beat faster. “Please, don’t be robots. Please, don’t be robots,” he chanted. He told the group to stop and wait for him while he checked out the way around the bend.
“We can’t wait too long,” Astralyn said. “The robots are right behind us.”
Timmy had not forgotten. He ran ahead and cautiously turned the corner. He stopped short when he saw that the tunnel was full of robots. He instantly raised his laser pistol and fired. Nothing happened. They didn’t move. It was then that he saw that the robots’ eyes weren’t red, they were black. They were deactivated. Good news there, but the bad news that Timmy was sure that the way out was past them.
Meanwhile in Space…
Meanwhile in Space…
Episode 74: The Unnatural City, Part IX: Bloodline
Timmy was looking at himself sleeping inside of the giant pod. The wires that restrained him lowered him down beside the pod so that he could get a better look. He watched as the tubes pumped red fluid from him. He rightly assumed that it was blood. He was thoroughly disgusted, but he couldn’t stop looking. “How is this possible? I’m right here!”
“But you aren’t,” Mother Board said. Her voice was devoid of emotion, but it still sounded like she was enjoying herself. “As we speak, you and your friends are trapped inside of a virtual world that I have created. You are, in fact, sleeping inside my pods having all of your fluids harvested.”
“Is that what you’re doing to the other scientists?” Timmy asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yes, they have already been harvested.” Mother Board hovered over the pods and stared blankly at Timmy. “Soon, I will have enough flesh to reanimate my dormant children and take over the planet.”
Timmy oddly felt relieved. If this was just a virtual reality, then all of the people that he had encountered in town were fake. The people in the real Citadel City were safe. He started to feel that hope was returning to a situation he once thought hopeless. His only obstacle was how he was going to effect change from inside a pod. If there was a way to wake himself up…
“Lieutenant, I want to tell you that I am very glad that you are here,” Mother Board said. “It has been a while since I’ve harvested someone like you. You are a very rare find.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you not know what’s in your blood?” The box that contained Mother Board’s blank stare tilted to her right as it glided towards Timmy. “Do you not know what you are?”
Timmy felt a chill travel down his body. How did it know about his blood peculiarity? Dr. Page didn’t know what the deal was with it. He stared at Mother Board quizzically. “What do you know about my blood? Tell me!”
“You honestly don’t know.” Mother Board sounded like she was about to laugh at him. “I have harvested others with your blood type. The people with this blood have an alien element that allows them to power machines. They provide an extra energy source to my children when they haven’t consumed enough human flesh. I yearn for this blood. You, my special friend, have given it to me. With it, I will be able to better power my machines for the rest of your natural life.”
“My blood does this?” Timmy asked. He thought about what happened on Deimos. The Caretakers were able to power up their machine by strapping him into it. Was it his blood that allowed them to do that? If that’s true, then all he had to do was touch something mechanical and maybe it would do his bidding. He supposed that there was only one way to find out.
Timmy gripped the wires that held him prisoner and concentrated. He closed his eyes and tried to visualize taking control of the wires that held him. He saw them lowering him to the floor. He saw them releasing him. He felt his hands begin to tingle. He opened his eyes and saw that the wires were, in fact, lowering him to the floor. Once he was firmly on the floor, the wires fell away and slithered back to the walls they came from.
Mother Board looked upset, though her expression never changed. “Impossible! This is impossible!” She quickly descended upon Timmy; her pixelated face turned red. “This is unacceptable! Unacceptable!”
“Well, accept it!” was the only thing Timmy could thank of to say as he ducked.
He placed his hands on the circuits on the floor and watched as a pale blue light raced along each of them. Then the light reached the walls and then finally the ceiling. The light traveled down the cables that allowed Mother Board to move around the room. When it hit the box, Mother Board froze. He felt her struggle against his power. He felt her fight to regain control of his world. Timmy grinned and concentrated harder and finally pushed her out of his head.
As she drifted away, Timmy heard Mother Board say, “You’re too late!”
Then all was darkness. All Timmy could hear was the sound of liquid bubbling and some beeping. He opened his eyes and saw that he was trapped inside the pod. At first, he panicked. He pushed on the lid with all of his might, but it refused to budge. He took a deep breath and collected his thoughts. There were tubes attached to his bare chest, stealing his blood. He promptly pulled them out and let them drip inside the pod.
“I should have thought that through a little better,” Timmy said.
He placed his hands on the lid of the pod. “Let’s see if this works in real life.” He concentrated on what he wanted to happen and pressed hard. His hands began to tingle. A small spark ignited and with a click the lid began to open. Smoke spilled out as Timmy climbed out of the pod.
He quickly looked around and saw that he was in a large, green lit, round room with walls lined with pods. The air was chilled and made Timmy shiver. He found that the robots had disrobed him and left him with his underwear. He rubbed himself until he began to warm up.
Timmy immediately checked the pods next to him to see who they were. He was relieved to see that Astralyn was to his left. She looked like she was sleeping soundly. He moved on to the pod to her left. It was Colonel Graves. The pod next to him was a scientist that he didn’t recognize. He walked back over to the pod to the right of his and found Sundance. They all looked alive and well for the moment. He didn’t know how far along the harvesting process went, but had plans to make sure they weren’t completed. He just needed a little time to figure out how to do that.
It was then that a loud alarm sounded. The stone walls made the alarm sound that much louder. Timmy covered his ears to dampen the initial shock. He cursed loudly, but no one heard him. He knew for whom the bell tolled and that he had just run out of time.
Meanwhile in Space…
Episode 73: The Unnatural City, Part VIII: Mother Knows Best
Timmy considered his options while the robots stood outside the commissary. He could continue to hole up inside the store, but that meant if the robots wanted him bad enough, they would only destroy it. The other option was to take the chance that the robots would keep their word and not kill him the minute he walked outside. It seemed highly likely that the robots had Sundance and the others stashed away somewhere. The only way to see his friends would be to go with the robots.
“We have all the time in the world, Lieutenant Falken,” said the electronic female voice.
Timmy had made up his mind. He stood up and slowly walked to the front door. He cautiously pushed it open and stepped outside with his hands in the air, laser pistol pointing to the sky. All of the robots saluted him and turned to their left.
“Alright, take me to your leader,” Timmy said, fulfilling a secret desire.
All of the robots started to march again. The mighty sound of their synchronized footwork echoed throughout the base. Timmy watched as they paraded past him. He was content to let them go in front of him. He wanted to be able to keep his eyes on them at all times. He lowered his hands as soon as the last group of robots past him. He brought up the rear, laser pistol aimed at their backs, taking false comfort in the idea that it would actually do something for him.
They marched to the western side of the base. There were fewer buildings and more expanse plots of land. They arrived at a place where there was a large ramp that led underground. The robots had created a lair where no one would think to look for them. It was not unlike where Timmy and the others found the first ship. Could this be another underground space ship?
The robots all converged upon this ramp and lined themselves against the walls, leaving a select few to guide Timmy down the rest of it. Timmy was surprised that he had made this far without the robots tearing him apart. Once he was underground, the robots led Timmy through the dark tunnels. Timmy hated tunnels almost as much as he hated elevators.
The tunnels walls were completely black with wires running through them. Timmy touched one and it pulsated beneath his fingers. It felt like it was pumping something, like a heart would blood through veins. This explained where the wires came from and how they attacked him earlier.
“Yes, bring him to me,” said the electronic voice. This time the voice sounded closer. Timmy could have sworn that the voice came from inside his head.
Timmy blindly followed the robots until they arrived at a large set of rusted metal doors. The seven robots that were escorting him stood on either side of the door in a line facing each other. They all turned their heads and stared expectantly at him. Timmy ignored how creeped out he was and approached the doors. The two robots closet to the doors slowly pulled them open, allowing access to the room.
Timmy stared in awe as he gazed upon the large, green, cubed room. There was circuitry all over the floor and walls. He watched his step as he entered. Streaks of light traveled along the circuits creating a lightning effect. Timmy heard the doors closing behind him. He turned around and raced back to the doors. They just before he got there.
“Do not concern yourself with the doors,” the female robot voice said. The entire room lit up as she spoke. “You have my word that you will remain unharmed.”
Timmy looked above him and saw that there was a large black box hanging from the ceiling. He surmised that this was the source of the electronic voice he had been hearing. It lowered down into the center of the room so that it was at face height with Timmy. A green pixelated face appeared and smiled at him.
“Who are you? What are you? If you’re not a robot…”
“I am the Mother Board,” it replied. “I am the program that runs all of the other robots. I am the Prime Machine.”
“How are you even alive? We killed all of the robots last year!” Timmy shouted. “That crash should have wiped you all out!”
“You destroyed our plant and transport ship, yes.” The box containing Mother Board raised itself above Timmy and floated around in a circle. “But what you didn’t know is that by resurrecting my drones you also resurrected my underground manufacturing and extraction laboratory! That is where you find yourself now. If I could laugh, I would be doing it right now.”
Timmy thought over what she had just said. Were he and the others really responsible for all of this? The thought angered him. He had to right this wrong. He pulled out his laser pistol and aimed it at the floating box containing Mother Board. He wanted to shoot the smug look of her face.
“Oh yes, I’m quite sure you’re right; destroy the source, save the people.” Mother Board lowered herself to the far right corner of the room. Timmy followed her. “You could do that, but you know that it wouldn’t do any good. Do you think I would really let you bring a weapon to me if you could harm me?”
Timmy fired a shot at Mother Board. Wires whipped out from the wall and shielded her from the attack. When they were done, the wires swung around and knocked Timmy to the floor. The laser pistol slid across the room. Timmy reached for it, but the wires held him down.
“You are a piece of work, Lieutenant.” Mother Board hovered over him and gloated. “Just like your captain.”
“What have you done with him?” Timmy struggled under the weight of the throbbing wires. One of them even had the audacity to caress his face while it restrained him. “Where are they? Tell me!”
“I’ll be only too glad to show you. Follow me.” Mother Board floated away.
Timmy felt the weight of the wires on his chest lessen. The wires lifted him up and carried him to the center of the room. His hands and legs were restrained tightly as he floated behind Mother Board. He knew that it would be fruitless to struggle.
Timmy looked down at the floor and watched as a section of it fell away and slid to the sides of the remaining floor. Another platform containing four pods on a slab rose up. A few flashes of light revealed to him that there were people inside of the pods. There were tubes that transferred fluid to and fro were attached to the pods. Blue fluids went in, red fluid went out.
“Here are your friends, Lieutenant. They are here, resting.” Mother Board floated over each of the pods as if to caress each one. “The captain… the colonel… the archaeologist…”
“You’re not getting me in there!” Timmy shouted.
“Oh…” Mother Board looked over at him and smiled. “But I already have.”
The entire room was flooded with white light. Timmy’s eyes were blinded, but he forced his eyes to stay open. He looked at the pods and clearly saw Sundance, Colonel Graves, and Astralyn. Timmy’s eyes moved to the fourth pod and he gasped. The person he saw lying in the pod… was him.
Meanwhile in Space…
Episode 72: The Unnatural City, Part VII: The March of the Robots
Timmy drove as fast as Sundance’s car could handle. The chilling night, desert wind whipped by him as he pushed the car to the limit. He kept his gaze focused on the horizon where Christopher City would eventually appear. He was impatient to get there. He wanted the answers to the questions that were buzzing around his head the entire trip. Where did the robots come from? He thought that they had all died when the ship crashed, but apparently they didn’t. They survived the crash and rebuilt their civilization. If this was true, then the plan was simple: find the robot colony and eradicate it.
He finally arrived in Christopher City and parked the car in front of the building he searched with the others. He climbed out of the car and looked around. There was nothing that would indicate that a force of evil robots were lurking about. He didn’t like the looks of that at all. He reached back inside the car and grabbed the laser pistol.
“Crap…” Timmy suddenly remembered that the robots were impervious to the laser beams. The pistol wasn’t going to provide him with much protection. He cursed himself for jumping head long into the situation without really thinking. It was something the captain would do. He thought that he should have gone back to HQ and grabbed the Electromagnetic Pulse device he had used the last time. That thought didn’t last too long. There was no telling if S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters had been compromised by the robot invasion. It was probably for the best that he left when he did. He kept the gun with him and started to walk the streets.
He scanned the buildings up and down to see if he could spot some of the robots watching him from above. At the time being there was no sign of them inside any buildings. Why would they be in there? he asked himself. They already had what they wanted from inside them; the humans were harvested.
Timmy retraced his steps to where the wire snake emerged and attacked them. The ground looked brand new, like nothing had ever happened there. This was very puzzling and disturbing to Timmy. He didn’t dwell on it too long. The longer he delayed, the longer the robots are in possession of the humans they captured. He ran to where he and Colonel Graves split up. He followed the alley between two buildings to where he imagined where Colonel Graves hid from the wire snake. The sandy streets and the wind made it impossible for Timmy to see if there were signs of struggling.
He ran across the street to where he had fallen and found nothing.
“What are you doing, man?” Timmy shook his head as he looked down at the spot he last remembered being. He thought back to what Colonel Graves had said about being rescued. There were too many unanswered questions. Then again, that wasn’t really Colonel Graves in the restaurant. “So what really happened?”
Bright orange lights shone down from the top of the surrounding buildings. Timmy looked up and shielded his eyes from the light. There was no one up there that he could see. He felt that he was a sitting duck if he continued to stand there. He ran to the commissary that was across the street and looked for a way inside. The door was locked. Timmy frantically searched for something to bash the door in with.
A noise broke the eerie silence and distracted him for a moment. The sound of many metallic feet stepping in time with each other echoed off the buildings. Timmy immediately knew what was happening; the robots were marching. He continued his search for a rock or something. Mid search he realized that he would be trapped inside the commissary with no other means of escape. He desperately tried to think of another alternative. He couldn’t stay out in the open because the robots would find him. Or he could trap himself in this building and pray the robots didn’t find him. What would the captain do?
The march of the robots crept closer. Timmy could see a large group of robots turning down the street he was on. They were marching down every street. He would be sure to get noticed. He took his shirt off, rolled it around his right fist and smashed window out of the door. He carefully reached inside and opened the door from the inside. He stepped inside and shut the door.
The commissary was small. It had four rows of grocery goods that contained various foods of nebulous nutritional value. The back wall was where the cold items were stored. Chilled shelves of cheeses, meats, and yogurts, and refrigerators full of milk, juices, and dairy creamer. It was not the ideal hiding situation, but Timmy wasn’t picky.
He quickly hid behind the second row of groceries, the chip aisle. He unrolled his shirt and shook the shards of glass out onto the floor. He put his shirt back on and waited for the legion of robots to stomp by. They reached the commissary and paraded past. Timmy was tempted to peek around the front of the aisle to see them, but he didn’t want to take any chances of them seeing him.
Timmy sat with his back against the shelves and waiting patiently for the robots to pass. Where were they going? If they went far enough to the other side of the base, he could easily slip out of the commissary and back track where they came from. But that would depend on how many robots were out there patrolling. He didn’t take a really good look at how many were coming at him, but it sounded like they were many.
He didn’t know how long the marching had stopped. When he had decided on a course of action he realized that he didn’t hear the sound of angry feet. Did they walk by? Did they stop in front of the commissary? Is the cat in the box dead or alive? Timmy couldn’t live with the pain of not knowing. He slowly peeked his head out from behind the aisle.
The front window also doubled as a wall so all of the merchandise in the first aisle was easily viewable from the outside. Timmy saw that there was an army of robots standing just outside the commissary. There were more on the streets behind them. Timmy imagined that the entire block was full of robots. They were still facing as if they were going to walk right past it. Then, they all turned around and faced him. Timmy was startled by this and withdrew into the safety of the chip aisle.
The sound of feedback sounded outside. “I know you’re there, Lieutenant Falken,” said an creepy female electronic voice over a loudspeaker. Her voice echoed all over the base. “I’m sure you’re wondering what has happened to your friends: Captain Starmont, Colonel Graves, and Ms. Winner. Hmm?”
There was a long pause and only the wind was heard. Timmy could also hear his heart beating at a cheetah’s pace. Timmy cursed silently while he regretted hiding in the commissary. Now he was trapped. He knew that was a risk, but it didn’t make him feel better. It was only a matter of time before the robots came and forcibly removed him from his hiding place.
“I have the answers you seek,” the voice said, breaking the silence. “Come to me. My children will lead you to your friends. All you have to do is reveal yourself. They will not hurt you. You are my guest. Come to Mother.”
Meanwhile in Space
Episode 71: The Unnatural City, Part VI: The Great Escape
The robot that was previously Sundance gripped its cold metallic fingers around Timmy’s neck. Timmy reached up and tried to pry the fingers off his neck, but the robot was stronger. The more he struggled, the less he was able to breathe. He knew his time was running out. He planted his left foot into the center of the robot’s abdomen. The robot was surprised and its grip loosened. Timmy took this opportunity to take a deep breath and plant another kick with his right foot. The robot stumbled backward.
“Timmy, what’s wrong with you?” The robot transformed back into Sundance, but Timmy knew better. “Timmy!” Sundance’s voice morphed into something dark and electronic.
Timmy pushed past him and ran out of the bathroom. “Everyone needs to get out of here, now!” The air caught in his throat when he looked at everyone in the restaurant. The entire restaurant was filled with robots. There were robots sitting down enjoying their meals. There were robots cooking meals. There were robots giving other robots glasses of water. Timmy stared in horror. How had he not noticed this. His eyes darted to the table he was sitting and saw that Astralyn and Colonel Graves were also robots.
“No,” Timmy moaned.
All of the robots turned and stared at him with their red hot eyes. Then in unison, they all stood up and slowly marched towards him.
Timmy reached for his laser pistol and remembered that he didn’t have it with him. He cursed himself. He started eyeing the exits. There was the front door and the emergency exit near the far right corner of the dining room. There was too much distance between the bathroom and the front door. There was no way he could make it without being caught by one of them. The emergency exit had just as many robots, but the trek wouldn’t be as far. He decided that’s where he’d make his escape.
The robots extended their arms out to him as if they were wanting a big hug. Timmy cautiously stepped forward and prepared to make a run for it. The bathroom door opened and the robot that was inside stepped out and grabbed Timmy by the waist.
Timmy cried out and tried to kick the robot, but couldn’t get his bearings. He struggled as the other robots moved in. He decided if he couldn’t kick them, he could at least use gravity against them. Timmy pushed back on the robot so that it crashed up against the wall behind them. The robot released him as it tried to regain its balance. Timmy immediately made a dash for the door. Two robots stepped in front of the emergency exit and prevented him from leaving.
“Oh no, you don’t!” Timmy quickly scanned the dining room for anything he could use as a weapon. All he saw were plates full of Italian food. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do. He grabbed two plates and promptly shoved them in the robots’ boxy faces. The robots scrambled to unobscure their view. Timmy used this opportunity to pull the robots towards him, away from the door. He slipped between them and pushed the door open. A high pitched alarm sounded. The robots seemed to be irritated by it and they froze.
Timmy stumbled into the alley and checked to see if the robots were behind him. They weren’t pursuing him so he ran to the streets. He bumped into a few people as he rushed by them. He looked up to apologize but gasped when he saw that the people he ran into were robots! He shouted and ran away. The robots proceed to chase after him.
The entire street was full of robots pretending to be people. Timmy couldn’t believe it. How could this be? There was something definitely wrong. How could no one notice that robots had replaced every living person? He needed to get to the bottom of this, but he needed to get out of the reaches of the robots first.
Timmy knew that he couldn’t hope to outrun them; he needed a speedy escape and he knew exactly how to go about doing it. He ran to the parking lot where there were a plethora of different cars to choose from. Timmy found the one the robot formerly known as Sundance drove to the restaurant. He thought that it was only right to steal his car. The top of the car was down, as usual, so Timmy jumped right into the driver’s seat. He reached beneath the steering column and broke open the control box. He tinkered around with the circuits until he found the one he was looking for. In a snap, the car activated and lifted off the ground. Timmy laughed at his accomplishment. He had never hijacked a car before.
Timmy drove the car away out of the parking lot. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw that the robots were still coming for him, but they had no way of catching him. He hoped that these robots didn’t have rocket packs like the previous set did.
As he drove away, Timmy had many questions running around his head. Had all of Citadel City been taken over by robots? How had no one seen them coming? Why was there no warning? Where were the people that the robots replaced? Could he fight them alone? He couldn’t make any sense of the situation. Everything about this was wrong.
As he made the right off of Broadway Street, he asked himself another question. Where was he going?
“To the beginning,” he uttered under his breath. He needed to get back to the source, the place where everything started. He decided that he was going to go back to Christopher City. Timmy leaned over to the passenger side and opened the glove compartment. There was a laser pistol resting on a pair of white gloves. He pulled the pistol out and set it on the seat next to him. With pistol procured, Timmy navigated his way through traffic and headed towards the city gates.
Meanwhile in Space…
Episode 70: The Unnatural City, Part V- Robots in Disguise
Timmy was released from the hospital in the early evening. To prepare for dinner with the others, he immediately went to his apartment to take a shower. He was tempted to go over to Sundance’s apartment to tell him about what he saw in the doctor’s office, but he thought the better of it. He was going to see him at dinner anyway.
As soon as he entered his apartment, he immediately started to disrobe on his way to the bathroom. He couldn’t wait to take a shower. He was sure he had sand in places he didn’t know about. He turned on the water and the shower automatically set it to the desired temperature. He stepped inside and imagined that he was washing everything down the drain. The worries about his blood work, the wire snake, the robot doctor, everything.
As hard as he tried, he couldn’t shake the image of the robot doing his blood work. He kept seeing its bright red eyes staring into him. Timmy rested his head on the wall and let the water rain down on him. He wanted to convince himself that the hallucination wasn’t real, but he couldn’t shake the idea that maybe it was. Something wasn’t right. He slammed his fist against the wall as he told himself he just needed to get over this feeling and move on.
He finished up in the shower and got dressed to go to dinner. He didn’t think he was going to be need to be in his uniform, so he dressed casually. A blue polo shirt, a pair of khaki shorts, and his best sandals. He walked into his living room and his cat, Argyle, welcomed him.
“Hey, kitty!” He made sure that there was sufficient amounts of water and food in Argyle’s bowls before he left. “Don’t wait up!” The cat meowed him and watched as his master left the apartment.
“Lieutenant! So glad you could make it!” Colonel Graves said, holding up a glass of red wine. “I was beginning to think that the doctor had you tied up.”
“Or something like that,” Sundance added. He stood up and pulled a chair out for Timmy. When Timmy sat down, he reclaimed his place at the table. “What did the doctor say?”
“She needs to run some more tests.” Timmy informed, looking at the menu. “The results keep coming up inconclusive. I wonder what the hold up is.” He looked up and saw the concern in Astralyn’s eyes. “But I’m sure it’s nothing. Anyway, I don’t want to think about it. So, what are we having?”
“I am being adventurous and am ordering the Gamberi al Vino Blanco,” Astralyn said, placing her menu down in front of her. “Prawns are just shrimp, right?”
“I guess I’ll have my usual.” Sundance stood up and shouted, “Waiter! Bring me the ravioli!”
“Sundance! Sit down!” Astralyn hissed. “You’re not going to make a drunken display tonight!”
“What? I’ve only had one glass of wine!”
“Speaking of adventure, do you guys remember how we got out of our last one?” Timmy asked. He couldn’t help himself. “Because I don’t remember anything.”
Colonel Graves coughed and took a sip of his wine. “I found a place to hide from the beast and I called for back up. I ran from that thing for as long as could before it got me. Fortunately, back up arrived just in time to rescue me from being pulled underground.”
Timmy nodded his head in mock understanding. There was something oddly vague about the colonel’s explanation. Timmy hadn’t lasted ten minutes, but the colonel was able to hold out for almost two hours for back up to arrive? Sure, the colonel had more experience in the field, but the wire beast was pretty major and no amount of combat experience would have trained him for that.
The waiter eventually arrived and took their orders. Astralyn ordered first, which gave Timmy time to look through the menu before the waited got to him last. He was hungry enough to order everything. After Colonel Graves and Sundance ordered, Timmy decided on the Osso Buco; it had been a while since he had veal.
“And for you, sir?” the waiter said.
Timmy looked up at the tall waiter as he said his order and saw that he was a robot. He shouted and fell out of his chair. He crawled backwards until he hit someone sitting at the table behind him. “No! No!” he screamed. The robot turned and looked at him; its wide circular red eyes glaring at him.
“Timmy?” Sundance got down from his seat and knelt down next to Timmy. “Timmy, are you alright?”
“Don’t you see it?” Timmy pointed at the waiter only to see that he was a very frightened human. “Didn’t you see it? Oh, god.” He placed his hand on his forehead and sighed. “I’m okay. I’m sorry.” Sundance helped Timmy up and they sat back down in their chairs.
“I’ll have the Osso Buco, please,” Timmy said, feeling very embarrassed.
The waited closed his order ledger and quickly went to the kitchen to place the order.
Timmy stared down at the table because he knew that everyone was staring at him. He could even feel the people at the other tables staring at him. He was just glad he didn’t have his laser pistol with him. He could have pointed it at the waiter and shot him.
“Timmy, are you okay?” Astralyn asked. She placed a hand on his leg.
“No, no I’m not.” Timmy stood up from the table and left for the bathroom. This left everyone at the table in confusion.
Timmy pushed open the door to the bathroom and allowed a man to exit. He entered the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. He looked at his reflection while he wondered what the hell was wrong with him. He ran his fingers down his face and let out a sad moan.
The bathroom door opened and Sundance came in. “Timmy, what’s going on with you?”
“I don’t know, Captain,” Timmy replied. “I honestly don’t know! I’ve been seeing things since I woke up this afternoon.” He gripped the sink and started to cry.
“What did you see?”
“Remember those man-eating robots we fought last year?” He looked to Sundance and saw that he nodded his head. “I’ve been seeing them lately. First the doctor and now the waiter. Captain, am I going crazy?”
“I don’t think you’re going crazy,” Sundance replied. He turned Timmy around so that he was facing him. He placed his hands on Timmy’s shoulders. “I think you’re just freaked out by what’s going with your blood work. The whole incident with being strapped to that big engine on Deimos has got you all messed up.” He shook Timmy a little. “You’re my buddy! You’re going to be just fine! We’ll find out what’s happening to you.”
Timmy closed his eyes and gave a sigh of relief. He was glad to hear Sundance say that. He was beginning to feel a little better. Then he felt Sundance’s hands go from his shoulders up to his neck. Then he opened his eyes. Instead of Sundance standing before him, there was another robot. It had its hands on Timmy’s throat and began to squeeze.
Meanwhile in Space…
Episode 69: The Unnatural City, Part IV: And You Were There…
“I think he’s coming to.”
It was Astralyn’s voice that brought Timmy to consciousness. His eyes jolted open and he tried to sit up but he was restrained by something, someone. He felt two hands on his chest push him back down to a lying position. He reached up and grabbed the hands and was surprised that he was able to move his hands at all. He looked around and saw that he was lying in a hospital bed in S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters. To his right were Sundance and Astralyn. Both of them were wearing hospital gowns.
“Relax, Timmy, you’re alright,” Astralyn said. “We all are.”
“Yeah, you had us scared for a while there, buddy,” Sundance said, patting Timmy on the chest. “I thought you’d be asleep forever.”
“If only,” Timmy joked.
He was relieved to see familiar faces. He felt like he had survived some horrible dream. At first, he couldn’t remember what he had dreamt about. Then images began to flash before his eyes. A giant monster composed of wires chasing him and the colonel, blue electric sparks, arms and legs restrained. The recollection of these events caused him to gasp and sit up.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Easy there, tiger.” Sundance helped him lay back down. “You just woke up, you’re not quite ready to be running a marathon yet.”
“Colonel Graves!” Timmy looked to Sundance with panic in his eyes. “The colonel, is he okay? I couldn’t find him!”
“I’m right as rain.” Colonel Graves walked into the hospital room and approached Timmy’s bed. “Dr. Page just released me.” He was wearing his uniform instead of a hospital gown. “How are you doing?”
“I can’t complain,” Timmy replied, finally calming down. “I’m just glad you’re okay, sirs, Astralyn.”
Dr. Page entered the room with her clipboard and tapped it on her available hand. “Alright, folks. Let’s let him rest. He’s been through just as much as you lot. Visiting hours are over.”
“But he just woke up, Doc!” Sundance pleaded. “Just a little longer!”
“Lieutenant Falken isn’t ready to come out and play just yet, Captain.” Dr. Page started pushing Sundance and Astralyn out of the room. “So, run along. I’ve got some tests to run. Colonel, you, too.”
“Alright.” Colonel Graves winked at Timmy as he left the room. “We’re meeting at Louie’s later tonight. See you there?”
“If you’re buying!” Timmy said. He nodded and smiled at the Colonel.
With his visitors gone, Timmy relaxed and let out a relieved sigh. “I’m so glad they’re okay.”
Dr. Page closed the door to the room and quickly attended to her patient. “Yes, they’re all very lucky to be alive. From what they told me, you had quite the adventure. But don’t worry about that right now. Give me your arm.”
Timmy held out his left arm and Dr, Page tied a rubber strap around it. She asked him to squeeze his hand into a fist. Timmy obediently acquiesced. Dr. Page pulled out a small medical gun that had a needle on the muzzle attached to a vial. She pressed it against Timmy’s arm and with a puff, she extracted Timmy’s blood.
“Ow!” Timmy complained. He turned to the doctor to give him a look of malcontent when he froze. Dr. Page was suddenly not there. In her place was one of the boxy carnivorous robots from Metropolis. Timmy wrenched his arm back from it and tried to climb out of the bed.
“All done, you big baby.” Timmy blinked and Dr. Page had returned. She untied the rubber strap and put it in her jacket. “I’m going to run more tests on your blood and see what the deal is with it. I should have some results for you tomorrow. Until then, just relax. Welcome back.”
Dr. Page opened the door to the room and saw that Sundance and Astralyn were still standing there trying to look inconspicuous. “Don’t you people have things to do?” They flinched and walked away. “Some people’s children.” She walked off to see her other patients.
Timmy’s heart was beating so hard that he thought it was going to beat right out of his chest. He laid frozen in his bed wondering if he had really seen what he thought he saw. He couldn’t have. The robots were destroyed and gone. No, he was just stressed by having survived his last adventure. Now that he thought about it, he couldn’t remember how he had survived the incident with the wire snake. The last thing he remembered was that he had been tied down and the snake was coming for him. All was darkness after that. He made it a point to ask the others when he was released. For the time being, he was content to lower his heart rate and drift off to sleep.