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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.  

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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.