“What the hell is this thing?”
That’s what I said when I saw the robot. I understand intellectually that those crane-arms that put together cars are “robots” but things like that are never what I think of when someone says robot to me. I think of a mechanical person or maybe an animal. Preferably a cute one that makes me waffles and coffee and speaks with a charming British accent. One of the good ones not one of the gross ones with “oi” and “ach” and “ooy” and things like that. You know what I mean, the Eliza Doolittle accents.
“What did you expect a murderbot to look like?” Martialla asked like she knows anything about robots, she’s from the same time as me!
“I figured it would be like Terminator.”
“What’s a Terminator?” asked Lucien bluely “I thought you didn’t have robots in your time either. Must be something from a movie?”
Martialla smirked “Good guess. Terminators were metal skeletons with rifles from the far future of three years before we were frozen.” She turned back to me “Ela, if you were going to build a robot for battle why would you make it look like a person? Tanks don’t look like people. It would just be a tank with no people inside.”
“This isn’t a tank” I gestured angrily “it’s a giant hardboiled egg with stupid plastic buttons glued on it!”
“Does a hard-boiled egg look different from a normal egg?” Lucien mused.
I glared at him “Shut up Lucien.” I glanced at Shwyrm “So what? We’re supposed to drag this thing back and plug it into our buckets and pipes and it’s going to power up and slaughter our enemies?”
She seemed amused, which is not something she’s ever seemed before “You’re the messiah not me, don’t you know?”
Martially chuckled “There’s no way that’s how this thing works. It’s probably got a nuclear power cell like the hovercraft that we came down here on in the first place. It’s too bad we can’t get to Junktown, there must be someone there that knows something about robots since there were a couple walking around there.”
“So, what? We need to figure out a way to get to Junktown?” she responded with a blandly noncommittal gesture of nothingness “Why did we come here if you didn’t think it was going to work and you had no plan?!”
“I was curious” was all she had to say for herself “but maybe there’s something else here that can help us.”
“Here” was a bunker/garage/pillbox that was clearly just the top of an entire underground complex but there was no way we could figure out to access what was below us. There was no power to open any of the Star Trek doors. We did fine one wrecked shaft with a metal ladder on the wall but it was filled up with septic ooze mixed with battery acid and crocodile vomit. Speaking of wrecked shafts filled with black goo did I ever tell you about the time I went on a date with Charlie Sheen? Zoom! We were on the shores of a lake made of the same goop so probably the entire underground is flooded with it anyhow.
“This would be a terrible movie!” I shouted at no one in particular as they were fumbling around I the dark looking for loot “it’s like some kind of reverse Chekov’s gun, nothing we ever find ends up meaning anything and never comes back to do anything!”
“Wasn’t that that the whole point of the Maltese Falcon?” came Lucien’s voice from the gloom.
“Oh sure, so now you know about movies?!”
Martialla came over and grabbed my arm like she was saying something desperately important “Look at this pocket watch. It’s worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless. Men will kill for it. Men like you and me.”
I shrugged her off “What the fuck are you talking about?!”
She went back to dicking around with a Cheshire grin “Fortune and glory, fortune and glory.”