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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.”