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Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual
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Enlarge: The King comes out to defend his subjects; Harry is somewhat taken aback

As Lug after Lug jostled through the doorway the net filled up with them. Engineers played out more cable as they came, and the net expanded into a giant bag full of robots. "That looks like about seventy so far," somebody said. They just kept coming.

But it must have been clear downstairs that something was wrong. Gwen saw a bright yellow ray stab through the net. It sliced carefully around the Lugs, which started to spill out through the gap. As they stepped into freedom the Lugs moved aside to make way for their King.

"Oh my," said Harry. "That's a military grade Myrmidon." The engineers backed away.

"You will not interfere with my subjects!" the Myrmidon boomed. Its ray shot out and sliced one of the transports in half. "If you do not withdraw now, I will destroy you. If you do withdraw I will allow you to live."

The engineers were jabbering quietly somewhere behind Gwen. "No, no," one of them insisted, "all its works are battle hardened. There's no way to reset it from here."

"Or anywhere," Harry Roy confirmed. "What the heck do you think we build these guys for? You're not supposed to be able to turn them off."

One of Harry's crew sidled up to him and whispered in his ear. "You brought that?" Harry said. "Why would you bring that?"

The technician shrugged. "I always bring the complete kit," he said. "Seems like a good idea now, don't you think?"

Harry and the Ferris workers backed behind one of the transports, leaving Gwen, Maria and Rusty to watch the Myrmidon. The Robot King was standing between them and the Lugs, who were lumbering out across the prairie. You couldn't exactly call it fleeing.

After a few minutes of strange noises from the Ferriss ship, Harry and his crew came out again. They were rolling out some kind of machine behind a large armored shield.


Reader Comments
There are 3 reader comments on this page.
Val says:
July 29th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Uh oh, robot/human wars. I guess now we’ll find out what kind of king Myrmidon is, huh?
I seem to recall a quote by W something to the effect of “I believe that humans and fish can co-exist.” Will humans and robots learn to co-exist? I thought how I felt for Gwen when she got to the top of the stairs and was caught in a net (“gasp!”), and then I THEN thought about how those Lugs might have felt being trapped in a net with no-one to get THEM out. (Or they might NOT feel anything about it, but I did.) Except Myrmidon, of course. (Getting them out, that is.) Very skillful writing, Bradley! I never thought much about that “robot equality” stuff until now. (Except as regards Commander Data, of course.)
Good work!

Bradley W. Schenck says:
July 30th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Retropolitan robots actually have a pretty good deal, despite the occasional misunderstanding.

Val says:
August 1st, 2011 at 9:42 pm

So was Metropolis banned from the cinemas after that? Or did it have an “OG-R” rating? (Owner Guidance – Robots) (I’m sure you got that. Maybe people who have robots aren’t actually called “owners”?) Did Metropolis inspire a whole new movie genre: Robot horror?

I admit Rusty’s pretty cute – I wouldn’t mind having a personal robot like R around. The big lugs look handy for riding along with the AAA tow truck. I guess I need to learn more about them.

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