Archive for the ‘astralyn’ Tag

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.

74. The Unnatural City, Part IX   Leave a comment

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.  

73. The Unnatural City, Part VIII   Leave a comment

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.

“Behold!”

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.

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.” 

27. Return to Mechatropolis, Part IV   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 27: Return to Mechatropolis, Part IV: What Lies Beneath

Panic set in as the entire crater began to quake violently. The people at the dig site started running in all directions. Astralyn, Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy stood and watched as the ground cracked open.

Everyone out of the crater!” Sundance commanded. They did not need to be told twice. People ran to the nearest declared exits.

What is going on?” Kjartan asked.

I think they’re leaving,” Sundance replied.

The shaking became more intense. Pieces of the ground started to give way as the cracks grew wider. A low humming noise joined the chaos. The sound caused the ground to vibrate more than it already had been. Before, it had been sinking, now the ground was starting to rise.

Oh my god,” Astralyn gasped.

To the car, to the car!” Sundance shouted.

Everyone that had a vehicle hopped in it and quickly sped away. Kjartan and Astralyn jumped into the back seats of Sundance’s car.

Everyone buckle up!” Sundance started the car as he hopped in it. Timmy climbed in and buckled his seat belt. Astralyn and Kjartan did the same.

The hovercar lifted off the unsteady ground and flew off into the distance. The ground continued to rise beneath them. At one point, the ground threatened to come crashing down on them as it crested into a large wave. The loud humming grew even louder. The hovercar drove as fast as it could but it didn’t seem to be fast enough.

Astralyn covered her ears as the wind whipped past them. She looked back and saw that the spaceship was rising out of the crater. It spun around, sending the dirt that had once rested on it flying everywhere.

Oh my god,” she whispered again.

The spinning saucer was finally free of the ground. It hovered over the fleeing humans for a moment and then flew off into space.

Sundance and Timmy could see that S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters had begun firing at the ship, but its shields protected it from getting damaged. Sundance didn’t care if the robots were destroyed; he was just glad they were leaving. He stopped the car and let it hover in neutral.

Is everyone okay?” Sundance looked back at Astralyn and Kjartan. Both of them looked shocked beyond reason. “I’ll take that as a yes. Let’s go home, people.”

———

Just what the hell was that?” Colonel Graves sat down at his desk. Sundance and Timmy thought it best to check in with him as soon as they got back to base. “One minute it’s peaceful and then the next, there’s an earthquake!”

Astralyn and one of her assistants stumbled upon a book…” Sundance tried to explain.

A book?”

Well, it looked like a book, but it opened a door in the hut that led to a giant space saucer that was trapped underground.” Sundance spoke as quickly as he could to prevent the colonel from interrupting again. “I pushed the button to the book and that’s what started everything. The ship came back to life and the carnivorous robots woke up and tried to eat us… sir.”

Carnivorous robots?”

They had huge teeth, sir.”

Sundance and Timmy saw that the colonel was having a hard time with the scenario. There wasn’t anything they could say that would make it any more believable.

You mean to tell me that there was a ship full of sleeping carnivorous robots underneath Citadel City for years and no one knew about it?”

Well, the previous civilization might have known about it, sir,” Timmy said. “But they didn’t leave any notes behind.”

Well, they’re gone now, right?” Colonel Graves asked.

I believe so,” Sundance replied.

Good riddance. Now I have to calm the people down and assure them that the worst is over.” The colonel stood up and dismissed Sundance and Timmy.

As they left the colonel’s office, Timmy felt a knot developing in the pit of his stomach. He tried to attribute it to all the excitement that happened earlier, but he knew better.

———

Later that night at the New Earth Museum of Artifacts, Kjartan sat alone in Astralyn’s office staring at a black backpack. He had been sitting there for twenty minutes just staring at the backpack, willing himself to just open it.

Man up, Kjartan!” He took a deep breath and reached for the bag. He punched in a four digit code on the lock and the backpack opened. He reached inside and pulled out a metallic book and set it on the table. He let the air out through his teeth and created a whistling sound. He pressed the button on the spine and the book opened. With great care, he flipped open the first page. He examined the writing inside and felt he recognized it.

He stood up from his desk and scanned the bookcase. He found the book he was looking for , sat down, and scoured both books for a translation. The first word he translated was ‘Mechanomitron’. He took out a notepad and started taking notes.

An hour later, Kjartan had finished going through the books. He got on the phone and called Astralyn.

Ms. Winner, you have to come to the museum and see this!” He hung up the phone and waited. Twenty minutes later, Astralyn strolled into the office. She gasped when she saw the Mechanomitron sitting on her desk.

Kjartan, you didn’t…”

I did! You were right, there were people on this planet before us.” Kjartan stood up from his seat and pushed Astralyn towards the book. “The robots brought them here. They used this planet like a farm. They would bring humans here, let them flourish, then come back and harvest them. They leave a few behind so that they would repopulate, then go to another planet to harvest humans there!”

The robots must have crashed here on their way back to harvest and couldn’t get free,” Astralyn whispered. “Until today.”

Astralyn noticed that a little red light on the book had been flashing on and off on its spine. “How long has it been doing that?” she asked.

Kjartan picked up the book and looked at the spine. “I don’t know.”

Astralyn knew that this was not good news. “They’re coming back.”

26. Return to Mechatropolis, Part III   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 26: Return to Mechatropolis, Part III: Escape from Mechatropolis

Sundance slowly backed away from the pod as the robot inside jerked back and forth. The pod to the left of it lit up, then the one to the right of it. Pods on the south wall started to light up.

I think now would be a good time to get out of here,” Astralyn said. She and Kjartan slowly backed out of the room. Timmy was right behind them.

All of the robots were reactivating and climbing out of the pods. Timmy and Sundance took out their laser pistols and took off running down the corridor. The robots immediately ran after them with surprising speed. Sundance and Timmy turned around and shot at the robots with amazing accuracy. This caused the robots to slow down in their pursuit of them, but not completely shut down.

Captain!” Timmy called Sundance’s attention to the fact that more robots were joining the chase. “There’s too many of them! We can’t fight them all off!”

Just keep shooting!” Sundance commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan led the way through the corridors, trying to remember which way they had come. Astralyn knew that they didn’t take too many turns, but even the simplest of directions under pressure could easily turn complicated.

They stopped at a four way intersection. “I don’t remember being here,” Astralyn said. “None of this looks familiar.”

All the walls look the same,” Kjartan added. “I knew we should have brought some bread crumbs! I even had a sandwich for lunch.”

Not helping,” Astralyn mumbled.

Sundance and Timmy, who were bringing up the rear, caught up with Astralyn and Kjartan. “Why has the running stopped?” Sundance demanded. “Must go faster!”

Astralyn didn’t want to tell him that she didn’t know where they were. She looked at all three directions and took a deep breath. Let’s try forward, she thought. She ran straight ahead and the group followed.

The short pause allowed the robots to gain some space. They reached out their arms for them, yearning to touch them. As Sundance continued to pummel the robots with laser beams, he took time to realize that they had mouths. Before he could question why they had mouths, he saw that when they opened, there were rows of sharp metallic teeth.Why in the world would robots need teeth? Sundance thought. Just keep shooting them and hopefully we won’t need to find out.

Timmy and Sundance continued to fire at the robots, but they seemed to be impervious. Sundance tried shooting the first line of robots in their eyes, but the robots kept coming. There didn’t seem to be any weak spots.

Oh come on!” Sundance shouted.

Astralyn led the group down a corridor to right and was relieved to find the bridge that led to the tomb they entered from. She ran towards it as fast as she could. The bridge trembled with each footstep. She thought it was because of the combined weight of everyone on the bridge, but as she neared the end of the bridge, she realized that the bridge was withdrawing back into the ship.

Hurry up,” Astralyn shouted. “The bridge!”

The others already knew. Astralyn was first to make the leap from the bridge to the sandy floor of the hut. The gap between wasn’t that wide. Kjartan had to jump a little further, but he managed.

Sundance and Timmy were still walking backwards, shooting at the fast approaching robots. They seemed to be walking in place, like a metallic treadmill. The gap was growing wider.

Timmy, go ahead and jump,” Sundance commanded. “I’ll be right there.”

Timmy wanted to argue, but he knew that there was no time. He placed his laser pistol in his belt and turned to jump. He made the mistake of looking down into the black abyss below.

Timmy, hurry!” Astralyn said. She held out her hands as Timmy made the jump. She caught him and pulled him onto the ledge. “Sundance!”

The robots were now on the bridge with Sundance. No matter how many laser blasts he fired off, they kept coming! There was no point in firing anymore. He placed his pistol on his hip and turned around to make the jump, only the gap was too wide and growing wider.

Captain, come on!” Timmy called. “We’ll catch you!”

Sundance looked back at the alternative. He had no choice. He took a deep breath and jumped from the bridge. It was in mid jump that he realized that he was going to come up short of the ledge. He was going to fall to his death in the abyss below. The edge of the spaceship, assuming it was saucer shaped, would catch him and break his fault.

Kjartan! Timmy!” Without communicating her thoughts, they quickly linked elbows as Astralyn leaned out into the gap. She reached out her free hand and with amazing strength, caught Sundance. “Don’t let go!” she commanded.

Kjartan and Timmy pulled Astralyn and Sundance back into the hut. They collapsed in a heaping, panting pile, thankful to be alive.

Kjartan was the first to sit up. “We’re not out of the woods yet.” They all sat up and saw that the bridge was no longer retreating. Once they learned that their prey had escaped, they flipped a switch and now the bridge was extending towards them.

The door!” Sundance shouted.

They all got up and ran to the open door. Since it swung inward and to the right, they all got on the left side and began to push. The door did not want to move.

Push!” Sundance commanded.

What do you think we’re doing?” Astralyn replied.

A little help!” Kjartan called out.

The other archeologists ran into the hut and immediately knew what to do. They all gathered at the door. With their combined strength, they were able to shut the door. The robots pounded on the door, demanding to be let in. Sundance leaned with his back against the door and wiped his brow.

Humans 1, robots 0,” he said.

As if on cue, the entire tomb began to quake. The ceiling cracked and threatened to come down on them. Everyone ran outside just in time for it all to collapse into a pile of dirt. It was then that the entire crater started to shake. Something bigger was coming for them.

25. Return to Mechatropolis, Part II   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 25: Return to Mechatropolis, Part II: The First Civilization

 

Sundance and Timmy kept their guns aimed at the door. When nothing immediately jumped out at them, they slowly lowered them. Kjartan looked pale as he shut the book in the slim hope that the door would disappear.

Did the book do that?” Astralyn asked. She walked over to him and took the book from him. He was only more than happy to return it to her. She opened the book again and tried to recreate the results. Nothing happened.

That is one scary book,” Timmy said, taking a step back.

Astralyn walked back over to the door and peered inside. She whistled and the hallow echo traveled for what sounded like a far distance. Her eyes lit up immediately as she looked back at everyone.

No.” Timmy and Kjartan said.

No?” Astralyn asked incredulously. “You have to be kidding me! This is the most important discovery in the history of New Earth! We could find out who lived here before us.”

Or we could not,” Timmy mumbled.

Captain?” Astralyn turned her green eyes to Sundance for support.

I think S.P.A.C.E. should take a look at it…” Sundance started, but Astralyn cut him off.

Excellent. Kjartan, go get a light, we’re going in.” She ushered the poor assistant out of the tomb. “This is so exciting! Boys, we’re making history.”

Why do I feel like we’re about to BE history,” Timmy said.

———-

Astralyn led the way into the newly discovered cavity. With her lantern held high, she navigated the cold, dark hallway. Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy (under protest) followed closely behind. The floor was made of metal so their footsteps echoed around them.

Timmy thought it was rather strange that there was so much metal inside when the outside was dirt and sand. This thought was compounded when the walls stopped and the suspension bridge began. He gasped as he looked down and saw what looked to be a huge spaceship in the shape of a saucer.

Oh my goodness,” Astralyn said, looking down at the cold blue ship. “Could this be a giant space saucer?” She raced down to the end of the bridge which led inside the ship. “This is a spaceship, a really old model; probably one of the first.”

What is it doing here?” Sundance asked.

Is it possible that the first civilization crashed here?” Kjartan asked. Astralyn nodded. “That would be amazing! If the bones we found are indeed human, then…”

That could mean that Old Earth started to colonize other planets before the Space Chicken War,” Astralyn added.

They stepped inside the giant spaceship. There were no lights on at all. Astralyn turned the light in the lantern up to better view the environment. The walls were metallic and had symbols matching the ones on the book. Other than that, there was nothing really special about the corridors.

This reminds me of a hospital,” Timmy said woefully. “I hate hospitals.”

Me too, Timmy,” Sundance patted his friend on the back and pushed him forward.

Astralyn led the parade down the corridor to the left and found more of the same. They took a right turn and found themselves at a closed door, but it wasn’t closed completely.

Oh look, a dead end.” Timmy turned around and started to head back the way they came. He stopped when he realized that no one else was following him.

Kjartan, help me with this door,” Astralyn commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan pressed themselves against the door and tried to slide it to the left. It refused to budge. Then they tried sliding it to the right. It moved an inch and then refused to move.

Sundance took out his laser pistol and shot it. Astralyn and Kjartan cursed and ducked out of the way. The door slid to the right, allowing them access. “I finally got to shoot something!”

How nice for you,” Kjartan mumbled, readjusting his glasses.

Astralyn was already on the other side before Sundance could warn her to be careful. There was another bridge that looked down on a lot of tall, metallic silos. There were large wheels that were attached to giant gears and the like. It definitely looked old, but nothing was rusted.

What is it?” Sundance asked.

It appears to be a processing plant of some kind,” Astralyn answered. “Just look at those silos. Ingredients were stored in there. I think further down is where things get processed. The people who flew this ship processed their own food while they traveled through space. Real pioneers!”

But why live in huts?” Sundance asked.

Maybe they lived on the ship until it could no longer provide for them.” Kjartan tapped the railings of the bridge and whistled. “They had no choice but to move outside.”

I don’t think that’s it,” Timmy said, entering the plant. “I found something.”

Just then, there was a loud pop. Everyone was startled. A soft whirring sound was heard and it gradually grew louder. Then the wheels began to turn; slowly at first, then faster. Things below came alive with lights and hissing.

Things are reactivating,” Astralyn said, looking around. “The plant is reactivating.” She could not contain her excitement.

Guys, you really need to come and look at this,” Timmy said, the urgency in his voice rising.

Sundance and the others left the plant and joined Timmy at the other end of the corridor. There was a room and Timmy was standing in the doorway. Timmy only pointed inside; he didn’t dare take a step inside.

Sundance walked past him and saw that there were pods lined up against all four walls. The windows were dark so he couldn’t see anything inside.

Sleeping pod,” Sundance said. “But I can’t see if anyone is inside it.” Just as he pressed his face against the glass of one pod, a light flickered on, revealing a menacing looking box headed robot with glaring red eyes– eyes that glared at him.