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78. The Unnatural City, Part XIII   Leave a comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 78: The Unnatural City, Part XIII: Kill it With Fire
Astralyn, Timmy, and Sundance quickly stood up and backed away from the opening doors. They all stood wide eyed in terror, not knowing what else to do. It was fine when the robots were underground, but now they were planning their escape. What would happen once they got top side? Timmy already had a glimpse of the chaos that would ensue in his dream world. He did not want that to become a reality.
Without thinking, Timmy ran over to the right side of the sliding doors and placed his hands on them. He hoped that he could use his new ability to hijack control of the doors again. He made them open, hopefully he could make them close. “Timmy, what are you doing?” Astralyn shouted. “Sundance, no!”
Sundance saw that Timmy was in trouble and quickly ran over to him. He pulled Timmy’s hands off the door and dragged him away just as the doors slid completely open. They made it just in time for the robot army to start stomping its way above ground.
“Now what do we do?” Timmy asked Sundance.
“Get down!” someone shouted from behind them.
Everyone turned around as they saw three large army trucks drive down the street. The men and women in the back of the truck were standing with their weapons drawn. Their weapons happened to include laser bazookas. When the trucks stopped, the S.P.A.C.E. agents jumped out of the truck and created an defensive line. Sundance, Timmy, Astralyn, and Colonel Graves made sure that they were behind the line.
The troops didn’t look like they were surprised at all by the appearence of large man eating robots. They simply picked up their laser bazookas and aimed to fire. When the commander gave the order, the troops opened fire on the robots, causing them to short circuit and explode. When robots spilled out of the tunnel, the troops didn’t waste any time in destroying them.
Sundance and Timmy just watched gleefully as the robots exploded into fiery heaps of metal. When it looked like the final robot had fallen, they high fived each other and embraced in a hug. The scientists gave a might cheer as the smoldering pile of robot remains sent smoke up into the sky.
Timmy walked over to Colonel Graves, who was hugging Astralyn, and tapped him on the shoulder. “Colonel, how did these troops know where to find us?”
“I called for back up after we had split up from that weird wire thing,” the colonel replied. “Though, I figure they wouldn’t have known where to look if it hadn’t been for you getting us out of there. You did a fine job, Lieutenant. A mighty fine job!”
“My hero!” Astralyn gave Timmy a kiss on his right cheek and a hug.
Timmy turned to Sundance and smiled. Sundance raised an eyebrow and smirked.
“What, you’re not getting a kiss from me, Timmy! You can forget about it!” Sundance slapped Timmy on the shoulder. “Now, how about we go and get some clothes? It’s cold out here.”
While Colonel Graves stayed behind to delegate orders on the destruction of the robots’ underground facility, Sundance, Timmy, and Astralyn huddled together on their way to the army trucks. They were more than happy to put the whole incident behind them. If they saw another robot again, it would be too soon.
————
“So, when did you notice that it wasn’t real?” Sundance asked, before taking a bite out of a blueberry scone. It was the following morning and Timmy and Sundance were having breakfast in the cafeteria in S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters. They were fully rested after they had a chance to shower and sleep. “I mean, I was convinced that I really was on Rylan 4 with all of those party girls! Man, some of those girls…” He held his hands out in front of his chest and made cups. He looked up at Timmy and winked.
Timmy shook his head as he stirred his oatmeal. “I kept seeing the robots’ faces everywhere I went. It was so bizarre. You, Astralyn, and the colonel were all robots, out for my head on a plate.” He didn’t want to think about it. The idea that the robots were inside his mind while they were harvesting his fluids weirded him out. “Nothing was making sense. Then all of the robots attacked me and I ran back to Christopher City…” Timmy stopped and smiled. “I realize that I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Oh, come on, Timmy! You can’t leave me in suspense!” Sundance sat back in his chair and folded his arms. “I mean, how did you get out? How did you free us? What was that thing you did with that control panel? I want answers!”
“I think it all has something to do with my blood,” Timmy said sullenly.
“I thought Dr. Page said she didn’t know what was going on with your blood.”
“And as far as I know, she’s still working on it.” Timmy scooped up a spoonful of oatmeal only to let it drop back into the bowl. “The Mother Computer told me that she had taken blood like mine from other people before. It’s special somehow. It allows me to do things… with technology.” That was all Timmy wanted to say about it because that was all that made sense to him. He left out the one thing that made him worry. The Mother Computer told him that his blood was alien. What did that make him? He didn’t want Sundance to think any different of him, not that he thought he would, but just in case.
“So, you’re thinking maybe your blood is what powered that machine back on Deimos?” Sundance asked. Timmy nodded. “Wow. I don’t know what to say about that. But, don’t worry about it too much, Timmy! I’m sure that Dr. Page will find some answers for you.”
“I hope so,” Timmy said, but he wasn’t sure if she’d be able to. It was entirely possible that he was the only person on New Earth that had his blood type. If he really was an alien, where would he even start looking for answers?
“Well, the whole robot nest has been destroyed, so there’s nothing else to fear from them ever again,” Sundance said, stuffing the rest of his scone in his mouth. “Remind me to ask Astralyn what she dreamt about, I’m curious!”
Sundance continued to speak, but Timmy wasn’t listening. He was too concerned about what was going to happen to him next. What effects will happen because he had alien blood? What will he become? These were questions he was afraid to know the answers to. He hoped that he could put all this behind him and move on with no further incident, but he’ll always wonder.

72. The Unnatural City, Part VII   Leave a comment

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.” 

71. The Unnatural City, Part VI   2 comments

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. 

69. The Unnatural City, Part IV   5 comments

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.