© Copyright 2006 - Darkraptor - Used by permission
Storycodes: Machine/m; mum; tape; cocoon; nc; X
A re-imagining of the original story “Smart Duct tape” by Naughtylittlegirl
"All right, all right! Look sharp men! We arrive in ten minutes!"
The APC rolled through the dark desert night, en route to the small town of Gidson. Inside, the group of National Guard troops checked and double checked their weapons and gear, making themselves ready for combat at a moments notice.
There was talking as well. The men were abuzz with ideas about what was happening. The official briefing said that there had been an unidentified emergency radioed in from the town the night before. Since then all, all contact to the town had stopped.
And now a small group of National Guard units were being sent in to investigate. Of the ten men inside, only the leader, Cameron, knew what the last phone call out of the town had said. "Robots!" The unidentified person had shouted. "Robots everywhere!"
"So, you ready to go Lucedo?"
Snapping a cartridge into his M-16, Lucedo grinned. "What about you James? You ready to tango with whatever we're going up against?"
A grin. "Yep." James turned to Dutch. "How about you Dutch?"
Dutch nodded his head, calmly thumbing shells into his double barreled shotgun. Dutch was the quiet one of the group. Austrian, with a big and imposing figure, he rarely spoke.
"All right everyone!" Cameron shouted out. "We've got five minutes! Look sharp! Gordon, any signals coming out from the town?"
The unit's tech expect pushed up his glasses and tapped away on his laptop. "Uh, no sir. Nothing. Not a single radio wave or electronic pulse."
"All right! Everyone get ready!"
James had never expected his professor
friend to get into trouble. But when the call had come out for his unit to
come to this town, he somehow knew that the professor had something to do with
it. Most likely involving that invention of his.
"I'm telling you it's dangerous." He had told him. "You probably shouldn't do anything with it." But considering how stubborn the professor was, he had gone ahead anyway.
And now, less then two days after last meeting him, James was heading into his town, a town that had gone silent.
Less then three hours ago all the men in the APC had been at home, getting ready for a night on the town. Then the call had come in from base, saying that something had happened at a distant town. "An incident" as command called it.
So they had all scrambled, and were given instructions to go to the town, and find out what had happened.
And now here they were, driving through the New Mexico desert, the sun's last rays vanishing into the darkness of the night.
"Sir," Blackwell announced from the drivers seat. "We're about one hundred feet outside of town."
"Good. All right everyone, load up! We're getting off!"
James grabbed his M-16 and gripped it tightly. The other troops clutched their own weapons. "The waiting is always the worst part." James thought to himself.
"You okay James?"
"Yeah, thanks Harrison. Just…a bit nervous, that's all." Without saying a word, Dutch patted James on the shoulder.
"Okay people, here we go!" The APC abruptly rolled to a stop. The door was slid open, and the men jumped out into the dark night.
The dark clouds were coving the sky, completely blocking out the stars. There was a slight howl as wind blew across the sand. In the distance the dim lights of Gidson beckoned.
"All right everyone, loose formation! Night vision on. Report any human like movement the moment you see it! Understood?"
There were several chants of "Yes Sir!" "All right then, let's move!" Cameron raised his rifle and led the way.
Near the back of the group Dutch, James, Harrison and Gordon stuck together, each quietly scanning the desert night. Only Dutch showed no emotion, his face flat and emotionless as his eyes looked around.
The troops reached the first buildings in ten minutes, illuminated by a single lamppost. Cameron raised his arm, the signal to stop. Everyone hunched down. Gordon came forward with his scanning goggles and peeked through them.
From what he could see, there was no life in the town. There were cars parked on the streets, a few empty strollers lying down, a can or two. But no people.
He tried infrared. Nothing. Heat vision. Nothing.
"Gordon," Cameron whispered. "Report."
"Nothing sir. I can't see anything. If I didn't know better, I'd say that the place is a ghost town." Cameron considered this.
"Okay. Let's move in slowly. We'll do a quick sweep and see if anybody's home."
The troops quickly split off into several small groups. James got paired up with Harrison, and the two began to walk through the town, heading for some residential buildings. The neighborhood they went through was completely silent. There were cars parked in the street, decorations on the lawns, a few strollers. But no people.
"Where is everybody?" James whispered to Harrison.
"I don't know." His companion said as he slowly looked around. "Maybe they're huddled up inside the houses." He looked over at a large two story house. "Let's try there."
The two quickly went across the street and over a lawn, arriving at the house's front door. "All right." Harrison whispered. "Flashlights on." A quick click and James's barrel mounted flashlight clicked on, followed by Harrison's.
James pulled out his radio. "This is James and Harrison, we're about to conduct a sweep of one of the houses."
"Okay." The voice of Gordon said. "Dutch and I are going to the shopping complex. There might be people hiding there."
Putting the radio away, James muttered, "Hiding from what?"
The door was unlocked, allowing Harrison to open it. Like the outside, it was pitch black inside the house. "Hello?" Harrison called out. "Anybody in here?"
Motioning to James, Harrison slowly walked inside. His light moved over the walls, revealing lamps, pictures of smiling families, but nothing out of place.
The two quietly walked in, flashlights dancing over the walls. Eyes nervously darted over closets, dark recesses and empty rooms.
The radio squawked. "Dunning here. I'm at the local grocery store. I'm seeing signs of a struggle, but there aren't any bodies."
"This is Smith. I'm at the police station. The situation's the same here. Signs of a struggle, but no bodies. There's signs of a gunfight though."
Cameron's voice piped in. "How long ago would you say it took place Smith?"
"I'd say a day or two. Maybe several hours, it's hard to tell."
Lucido piped in. "Sarge, whatever happened here I think we missed it."
"I think you may be right. Everyone, continue their sweep. Report back in five." The radio went silent.
Harrison and James slowly finished their sweep of the first floor. There were signs of habitation, such as half eaten food and drinks. A cigar was still slightly burning in an ashtray.
"What do you think Harrison?" James whispered. "What happened here?"
"I don't know, but I'm not sure I want to know what happened." The upstairs was next. It was exactly the same as downstairs. No people, pitch darkness, and no signs of a struggle.
After five minutes had gone by, James pulled out the radio. "Make it fast." Harrison said. "This place is giving me the creeps."
"Me too." James whispered. "I've got the feeling that something's watching us." Harrison nodded as James spoke into the radio.
"Major Cameron, we haven't found anything. It looks like the people just got up and left, leaving everything behind."
"All right, continue your sweep. Dunning, report."
"Everything's clear here sir. There's nobody here at the grocery store."
"Okay, good. Smith?"
"The police station is clean sir."
"The sewage plant is clean too sir. Nobody's home."
"All right. Dutch, Gordon, what about you?"
"Gordon here sir. We're at the shopping center. We've found signs of a major struggle sir. Gunfire, torn walls, broken glass, you name it."
"All right. Everyone get down to the shopping complex ASAP. Understood?"
"Harrison and James on the way sir."
"Lucido on the way."
"Smith coming in too."
There was silence from one end.
"Dunning, you copy?" Cameron asked.
"Dunning, do you copy?"
"Who's closest to the grocery
"Blackwell and Buckingham here sir. We're about a minute away."
"Get over to the grocery store and see what's holding up Dunning."
"Roger sir. We'll report back."
Without wasting any more time, Harrison and James quickly scurried down the stairs and left the dark house. Out on the street they jogged quickly towards the shopping mall.
It took them five minutes of jogging through empty streets before they arrived, finding the others already waiting for them. "It's about time you joined us." Cameron said.
"Sorry sir." James panted. "We just wanted to do a little sightseeing that's all."
Cameron chuckled. "Maybe you should spend more time working out instead of staying home all the time." Picking up his radio, Cameron pressed the talk button.
"Blackwell, Buckingham, report."
"Sir…uh…Jack's not here."
"Well, we found his radio and his gun on the floor in one of the isles, but we can't find him."
Cameron's face dropped. It took him a few seconds to press the button. "Have you searched the entire store?"
"Yes sir. No sign of him." A curse.
"All right. Everyone keep your radios open for any emergency distress signal. Blackwell, Buckingham, keep searching. Radio us every five minutes."
"Roger that sir. Continuing our sweep."
As Cameron put the radio on his belt the dark clouds rumbled with thunder. "Last thing we need is a rainstorm." Lucido muttered.
"Gordon, Duke, what did you find?"
"Well sir, it's probably better if we just showed you." The skinny technician led the group over the large shopping building. James noticed that there were several gun blasts on the ground.
A heavy metal door was in place over the main entrance to the building, but there was a gaping hole, as if something had torn it open.
"It looks like the people might have been holding up inside this building sir."
"What were they holding out against?"
"No idea sir. But something was coming after them, and they were desperate enough to hide in the shopping mall."
"All right. Have you swept
"No sir. We only went in a short way before coming back. But I did run a thermal scan, and there are heat signatures deeper inside the mall."
"The town's population?"
"No way to tell sir. But that's what it probably is."
"All right then. Let's go find out. Teams, weapons at the ready. Stay sharp people. James, Harrison, you've got point."
Shifting his rifle, James quickly jogged over to the jagged hole and peered inside. The place seemed relatively intact. There were however, shotgun blasts on the floor and lots of broken glass from the shop displays.
Carefully walking inside, he scanned the large hallway. No sign of any movement or people. He waved his hand to indicate it was safe to proceed. As the others began to come inside he went ahead, Harrison right behind him.
For several hours the team slowly went deeper and deeper into the enormous shopping mall, searching for any people who might have been hiding in the shops. The deeper they went, the more broken glass and ruined shops they found. Something had definitely taken place here. But there still no bodies, no people to be found.
"Man, I hope this isn't the work of the professors little toy." James thought.
Gordon kept adjusting his thermal scanner, trying to lock onto the heat sources. At last he locked them down. "Sir." He said. "It looks like the heat is coming from directly beneath us, on the lowest level of the shopping mall."
"All right. Let's keep going." Cameron pulled out his radio. "Blackwell, report."
"We're still looking sir. We're outside the grocery store, but there's still no sign of Dunning."
"Keep trying. Report back in five."
The seven troops went deeper into the mall, until they came to the main staircase room, which lead to the upper, middle and lower levels of the shopping mall. The lower level was pitch black. Apparently the electricity had failed in that part of the mall.
Lucido sighed. "Why is it always the lowest, darkest place?"
"Keep it sharp Lucido." Cameron said. "We've got a job to do. Now let's go do it. Derek, you've got point this time."
Derek scurried down the still escalators, his flashlight scanning the darkness. After looking for several minutes, he signaled that it was safe to come down.
James followed the others down the escalators, trying to keep his rising fear in check. Dark, lightless places were never high on his list of favorite spots to visit.
When they reached the bottom, they found only one hallway, leading in the direction they had come from. It was pitch black.
Cameron looked at Gordon, who checked his thermal scanner. He nodded. They were going to have to go in there.
"All right people. Stay sharp, and stay together. We can do this." The others nodded, but James could see the sweat starting to appear.
It was deathly silent as the team slowly went into the dark tunnel. Only the flashlights on their rifles gave any light. Shadows lurked, some of them apparently waiting for the right moment to spring.
James kept looking at the shops, seeing if there was anyone in them. The shops were empty, dark, and deserted. They were the only ones down here.
"Sir!" Gordon whispered. The group stopped. "The heat signals are just ahead, thirty feet or so."
Cameron reached into one of his many pockets and pulled out a small red flare. Snapping it, he tossed it ahead of the group where it landed on the hard floor.
It began to glow brighter, revealing the source of the heat signatures.
There were bodies in front of them. Hundreds of bodies. Or at least that was what the soldiers thought they were. For there were hundreds of silver bundles shaped to look like bodies.
James gulped. It looked like the professors toys had definitely been at work.
With the fear having left them, the soldiers went up to the silver wrapped bundles. James went to one lying up against the wall. Kneeling next to it, he ran his fingers over the material. "Sir!" He said. "I think this is duct tape!"
"I think he's right." Lucido said. "I think the townspeople have been wrapped up in tape!"
Moving on, James inspected more silver bundles. Each of them was indeed a human, wrapped head to toe in silver duct tape. Judging by the thickness and firmness some had been wrapped several times.
"How on earth did they get wrapped up like this?" Gordon wondered.
"Are they still alive?"
"I think so." Harrison said. "This one's breathing."
"And so is this one."
"And this one too."
"Okay men, let's start cutting them loose. Bayonets out!" Several bayonets came out and began carefully cutting into the wrappings.
But when the first cut happened, there was a loud screeching noise. Instantly guns were drawn and muzzles pointed.
"What the hell was that?" Lucido asked.
"I don't know." Gordon said. He grabbed his imaging visor. "Uh…sir?" He whispered.
"What is it private?"
"I've got something…no…things coming our way."
"Uh…in front of us. But…" he spun. "I'm getting readings from all around us!"
James spun, looking at the shops around him. He couldn't see anything. "Where? Where? I don't see anything!"
"Wait, listen!" Harrison said. Everyone froze. For several seconds there was silence. But then….clicking noises. Then there was the sound of electric motors whirring.
"What the hell?!" Derek exclaimed, pointing his gun. Without saying a word, Duke calmly pulled out his double barreled shotgun.
"They're getting closer!" Gordon said.
"We need to fall back sir!" James said.
"What about the people?!" Gordon asked, his voice rising.
"We'll come back for them later!" Cameron said. "Everyone lets move! Fall back to the entrance of the hallway!"
He started to move when the noises got louder. Everyone froze. The only sounds were that of rifles shaking.
James stared at the others, his rifle pointed at the ceiling. He could hear…things. But what were they?
There was a loud bang as something fell out of the ceiling.
"AHHH!!!!" Derek let out an ear splitting scream as something landed on him. Bullets flew from his gun. James and the others spun to see a small, silver thing on him.
The ceiling suddenly exploded. Dozens, hundreds of the silver things fell out and scurried towards the soldiers.
"ROCK AND ROLL!" Lucido shouted as he opened fire. The others followed suit. Bullets flew as hundreds of small silver things poured out of the ceiling, the shops, and the floor.
James heart froze. These things were definitely the work of the professor.
"FALL BACK!" Cameron shouted. "FALL BACK!"
The troops turned and ran. Duke raised his shotgun in one hand, rifle in the other, and started firing, laying down a suppressive fire.
But Derek was too late. Hundreds of the things swarmed over him, muffling his screams of terror.
Everyone ran, legs pumping as the things followed them. "BLACKWELL!" Cameron shouted on the radio.
"GET YOUR ASSES TO THE APC! WE'RE COMING OUT HOT!"
"On our way sir!"
"DOUBLE TIME IT SOLDIER!"
As Cameron finished, something shot out towards Gordon. James had the quick glance of what appeared to be a strip of tape as it attached itself to Gordon's leg. The tech shouted as the strip went taunt and pulled him down.
Watching in horror, the soldiers watched as hundreds of the silver ball things swarmed over the private, completely covering him. They came off a few seconds later, revealing a silver wrapped bundle that squirmed madly on the floor.
"FALL BACK!" Cameron shouted as he fired his rifle at the crowd. The others turned and kept running, trying to keep ahead of the silver things.
James ran and ran, legs pumping, heart churning. He heard another shout and turned to glimpse as dozens of the silver things shot through the air and landed on Lucido.
"No!" James shouted, raising his rifle. But he couldn't get a clear shot. There were too many of the silver things.
Lucido shouted in anger and kept firing, but it was too late. He too vanished under the swarm of silver things. A few seconds later the silver things left him, revealing a body shaped silver cocoon where the private had been only a few seconds ago.
They had reached the stairs leading to the upper level. Duke kept firing his rifle, occasionally mixing in a devastating blast from his shotgun. A few of the silver machine things sparked and stopped moving, but the rest kept coming. As James sprinted up the escalator he looked back. To him, it looked like thousands of the things were following them.
Duke had the rear, calmly sprinting up the steps while re-loading his shotgun. Harrison and James provided cover fire, holding the swarming mass at bay.
When Duke reached the top, the three of them turned and ran, thousands of the silver things following. Up ahead, Cameron and Smith were heading towards the exit.
More and more of the tiny silver machines poured out of the shops, out of the air vents and the ceiling, all joining the chase after the humans.
The three were fast, but the machines were just slightly faster. One leapt through the air and landed on Harrison's leg. He let out a shout and tried to shake it off. But another tiny machine leapt onto his back. James saw a needle pop out and stick itself into Harrison's back.
Almost instantly, Harrison stumbled, then fell to the ground. "NO!" James shouted. He tried to reach Harrison, but Duke grabbed his collar and effortlessly dragged him along. Behind them, the tiny machines swarmed over Harrison's body, turning him into another silver wrapped bundle.
They reached the exit where Cameron and Smith were waiting. "Double time it!" Cameron shouted. "We're going to blow the door!"
Duke and James leapt through the torn doorway, following Cameron and Smith, who were already running as fast as they could away from the shopping mall. When they were thirty feet away, Cameron pulled out a button and pressed it, activating the C4 he and Smith had quickly stuck to the entrance.
There was an enormous explosion,
followed by the sound of steel and stone crumbing as the entrance to the
shopping mall collapsed, sealing it.
"That should hold them for a while." Cameron panted. "We gotta get out of here and call in for reinforcements."
"Haven't you done that already?" James asked.
"I tried. The radio signal
isn't strong enough to reach base. We're going to have to do that as we
drive out of here." A loud whirring noise filled the air.
Everyone spun to see the APC coming down the road towards them.
"Thank goodness!" Smith sighed.
The APC kept coming…but didn't slow down. If anything, it sped up.
"What the hell?"
"Look out!" Cameron shouted. The others leapt out the way as the APC roared past, slamming into a building.
Shaking the dust off him, James got to his feet. Duke was already running to the APC. James followed him. "What was up with that?" He said out loud. "Were they trying to kill us?"
When he got to the APC he had his answer. Blackwell and Buckingham were in the APC, both in the front. However, both of them were completely wrapped head to toe in silver duct tape. Apparently they had been ambushed by some of those robot things while driving.
"Blackwell, can you hear me?" James asked. The mummy in the driver's seat wiggled and squirmed. There were several muffled "Mmphh"s coming from its head.
Cameron and Smith came up to the APC and got inside. "Damn!" Cameron cursed. "It's bad enough that we've lost half our team without having our drivers mummified like this!"
The two bundles were squirming and wiggling, trying to escape their cocoons. "Smith," Cameron said. "See if you can get them out of there."
"Yes sir." Smith took Buckingham's wrapped form and tried to cut her out, using his bayonet to slice the tape. But much to his surprise, the tape didn't slice. "Sir?" He said. "I can't cut the tape. It seems to be a very strong material that ordinary sharp objects can't cut through."
Cameron cursed. "Well, how do
we get it off them?"
"I think a mild grade, non-burning acid should do it sir, but I don't know where we're going to find some."
Cameron sighed. "Well, I
guess they'll have to stay wrapped like that until we can get out of here."
A muffled moan escaped both mummy's heads upon hearing the news. While Smith tried to get them as comfortable as possible, Cameron, Duke, and James went over the controls.
"Do you think this puppy can go sir?" James asked.
"It should. These things are
built tough. I have no idea what those machine things are, but we need to
get out of here and call for reinforcements. At least it doesn't look like
those things kill what they trap."
"Do you think the others are alive?"
"They should be. All we have to do is defeat these suckers, then go around, find everyone, and dissolve their wrappings. But we need to do it fast, before they starve to death."
James nodded. "You want to drive sir?"
"Yes, I think I will." As Cameron got into the drivers seat, James stopped.
"What?" Cameron asked. "What is it?"
James eyes went wide. "I think I hear something." Turning, he ran out of the APC and onto the road. What he saw confirmed his worst nightmares.
There were thousands of those tiny robots pouring out of the shopping mall, coming straight for the crashed APC.
James ran back inside the APC. "Sir, I think you'd better start driving. They're coming."
The wrapped mummies of Ridgeway and Buckingham whimpered.
Cameron didn't even bother to reply. Turning on the engine, he threw the shift into reverse. "Hold onto something!" He shouted. The APC spun backwards as it backed out of the crushed house. A quick shift change and the APC tore onto the road.
Cameron looked in the rearview mirror. "They're right behind us!" He said. "James, Duke! You've got to hold them off! I can't go fast with all this rubble on the streets!"
The two didn't even wait. Grabbing all the weapons they could, they quickly popped open a hatch on the roof and climbed up. The wind was howling as they got onto the roof of the APC, already drawing their weapons. Right behind the APC were thousands of those tiny wrapping robots.
"Rock and roll!" James shouted, opening fire. Duke pulled out a grenade launcher and fired into the crowd. BOOM. A hundred robots blew up. BOOM. Another hundred were turned into scrap metal.
The APC swerved, forcing James and Duke to grab onto the handrails. The grenade launcher tumbled out of Duke's hands and fell onto the street. James grabbed two grenades out of his vest, pulled the pins and chucked them into the street.
As the APC turned another corner, there was an earth shattering explosion as the grenades went off, destroying another two hundred robots.
Counter-attacking, the robots shot several strips of duct tape onto the APC, trying to slow it down. But then more and more strips shot onto the APC, and the robots began to pull themselves towards the APC. Whipping out their combat knives, Duke and James tried to cut the tape. But as they found out, the tape could not be cut.
"Sir!" James shouted over the howling wind. "We've got a problem!"
Down below, Smith scanned the APC, searching for anything they could use to try and destroy the robots chasing after them. Smith had no intention of being wrapped and left to starve to death somewhere.
The mummies of Buckingham and Blackwell whimpered in fright.
There. He reached into one of the weapon shelves and pulled out a small, hand sized piece of machinery. "Major!" He shouted. "Where's the highest point in this town?"
Swerving to avoid a wrecked car, Cameron shouted out, "The radio tower!"
"Head there! I have an idea!"
The APC swerved through the city streets, just managing to stay ahead of the pursuing robots. Duke and James were kept busy firing into the crowd. It wasn't long before James ran dry. "I'm dry!" He shouted. Duke pulled out his shotgun and tossed it to him. Cocking it, James fired at the tiny robots scurrying up the tape.
Several blasts and they fell to the street as pieces of scrap metal. A few more shots and the shotgun went dry. Chucking it into the crowd, James pulled out his last sidearm. Aiming his pistol, he fired into the crowd.
Duke chose that moment to grab the bazooka strapped to the roof. "Get down!" He shouted, his Austrian accent making him sound like a famous movie star. James did so, just as a miniature rocket flew out of the tube and into the crowd.
Instantly, over five hundred robots were disintegrated. Duke calmly took out another rocket and reloaded.
But more and more tiny robots were trying to climb onto the APC. With careful aim, James managed to shoot them off. Then his pistol went empty. He pulled out his last clip and loaded it.
"Duke!" Cameron shouted.
"Ahead!" Duke spun, seeing a huge truck in front of them.
Duke aimed the bazooka, locked on, and fired. The miniature rocket shot through the air and slammed into the truck, sending it high into the air. The APC shot under it, and the truck came crashing down onto the crowd of robots, stopping them momentarily.
But it was enough. With the road flattening out, Cameron pushed the APC to maximum speed, racing across the road, heading towards the radio tower. "Duke!" James shouted above the wind. "You stay here!" Duke nodded.
Dropping into the main cabin, James carefully stepped over the wrapped bodies of his companions and went up to the driver’s seat. "Where are we going?" He asked.
"Radio tower! Smith's got an idea on how to stop these suckers!" James turned to Smith, who was holding up a small electronic device.
"This is an EMP bomb!" He said. "If we can detonate it from a positively charged energy source, it'll enhance the range of effect. In turn, we can wipe out all these things at once."
"How do I fit into this?"
"When we reach the radio station, you've got to climb the tower and attach the grenade at the top. Then you press the button and presto, no more bots!"
"They are coming!" Dukes warning call got everyone's attention, including Blackwell and Buckingham, who wiggled with fear.
"Don’t worry." Smith said as he stroked them. "We're going to be okay."
James hopped back onto the roof of the APC. Behind them lay a sight that was almost comical. All of the tiny robots now resembled balls, rolling at top speed across the sand, edging ever so closer to catching the APC.
"Sarge!" James shouted. "Where's the tower?! We gotta get there now!"
"Right ahead!" James looked into the darkness. A sudden flash of lightning illuminated the tower, less then thirty seconds away.
"James!" Smith shouted. "Take the EMP bomb!" James reached down and grabbed the small object. "When we stop, get going! We'll hold them off as long as we can!"
The APC tore across the desert, heading straight for the tower. Only a few more seconds…
Reaching the station, the APC swerved and slid right up to the tower. Wasting no time, James leapt off the APC and ran to the tower. Grabbing the ladder, he scrambled up as fast as he could.
Grabbing their weapons, Cameron and Smith jumped out of the APC. The robots were coming straight for them, whirring eagerly, as if they couldn't wait to wrap these victims.
"You ready?" Cameron
asked Smith, aiming his rifle.
"Me neither." Without further ado, they opened fire into the swarming mass. On the roof, Duke fired his bazooka again, vaporizing more of the robots.
On the tower, James was scrambling as fast as his legs would carry him. They were beginning to ache, but he did his best to ignore them. Stopping now would mean failure, and possibly death if he fell.
There. He reached the halfway mark. Almost there…
Despite the sheer number of bullets flying into the crowd, it was simply impossible to stop the crowd. "Into the APC!" Cameron said.
"No arguments here!" Cameron and Smith ran into the APC and quickly rolled the door shut, locking it as tight as they could. Duke however, continued fighting. The robots swarmed up the sides of the APC, coming straight for him. And even as he kept firing, they began to swarm and wrap him.
But as they continued mummifying him, the robots suddenly noticed the human climbing the tower. Though they were incapable of panicking, the robots realized what was going on. Without waiting, half of them drove off and headed towards the tower.
Inside the APC, Cameron and Smith were huddled in the back, along with the wrapped bodies of their comrades. Smith noted with grim humor that they would probably be wrapped in a few minutes, joining their friends in the bonds of mummyhood.
"Never though this would be a last stand." Smith said as he put in the last clip for his rifle.
"Me neither." Cameron said, cocking his rifle. "Never thought I'd be defeated by a bunch of tiny robots that wrap you up in duct tape."
The two of them looked at each other, then burst out laughing. At their feet, the wrapped forms of Blackwell and Buckingham squirmed, possibly shaking their heads in despair.
There was a loud scratching noise as the robots swarmed over the APC. Then the sound of breaking glass as the windows were shattered.
On the tower, James legs were ready to collapse beneath him. At almost two hundred feet in the air, he was utterly exhausted.
But at last, he saw it. The very pinnacle of the tower, and the place to put the bomb. He had a sudden moment of joy…which was cut short by the sounds of thousands of robots climbing the tower.
He looked down and saw the robots
swarming up after him. Down below, hundreds more were swarming over and
into the APC.
Without waiting, he sprinted up the tower's ladder, until he finally reached the peak. But upon reaching the top, James was surprised to find a silver bundle tapped to the tower. But with no time to spare, all he could do was keep going.
He finally reached the peak. Taking the box, he smashed it onto the power box. Pressing the button, he watched as a small timer began to count down. All he had to do was wait for five seconds as the tiny bomb powered up.
The robots swarmed up the tower.
Lighting flashed through the air.
James aimed his gun and fired, using up the last of his bullets.
The gun clicked as it went empty.
The robots were upon him.
The bomb made a cheerful "DING" as the timer finished counting down. All that was left was the big, red button.
The robots leapt into the air as James
reached over and pressed the "activate" button.
For one split second, time froze. James looked and saw the robots coming at him, needles pointing, strands of tape being unwound.
And then it happened.
There was a large sonic blast from the bomb, invisible to the naked eye, but powerful nonetheless. It shot through the night sky, hitting everything electronic and frying the circuits instantly.
One of the robots landed on James. But even as he moved to brush it off, he saw that it was dead, it's circuits fried. It fell off him, plunging to the ground far below, along with thousands of its fellows.
James stood there, clutching the tower, breathing heavily. Then he gave a loud sigh of relief and collapsed against the tower. It was over. It was finally over.
James took his time climbing down from the tower, careful not to fall. When he reached solid ground he waded through mountains of disabled robots, kicking them aside, walking over to the APC.
Shoving the robots aside, he opened the sliding door and looked inside. There were lots of tiny robots in here too, but they were dead as well. At the back lay the freshly wrapped forms of Cameron and Smith.
James couldn't help but chuckle as he shoved the rest of the robot bodies out of the APC. He took the wrapped forms of his companions and lay them on the floor next to Blackwell and Buckingham. "Well, it worked if you're curious to know." He said. "All the droids have been disabled."
He couldn't tell, but to James it looked like all four mummies sighed in relief.
What to do next? Well, wait until the rechargeable radios were back up, then call for help. And when that help arrived, get the necessary material to free all the townspeople and his fellow soldiers. Until then, all they could do was sit around. Well, James could sit. The others would have to lie around in their cocoons of tape, unable to move.
Hmm…maybe he could drive around town
and search for the other mummies that were no doubt lying in some of the
buildings. After pulling a mummified Duke off the roof, James got into the
driver's seat and turned on the engine.
As he got onto the road and drove back to the town, James though to himself. "When I find the professor, I am going to strongly suggest that he make less sophisticated sex toys."
Behind him the sun was starting to rise, it's rays shining over the desert, lighting up the town in a golden glow.
"Well guys" he called to his mummified companions in the back. "Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day."
With that, he continued driving into town, illuminated by the warm sun at his back.
The Atlantic ocean
Two weeks later
The large tanker sailed through the cold night, unaffected by the bone chilling waters that surrounded it. High up in the bridge, the captain was alone at the wheel, looking out into the cold night air. It was incredibly clear, he had to admit. He couldn't recall seeing the air so clear and crisp before. Taking a sip of his coffee, he closed his eyes for a moment.
A loud beeping noise caught his
attention. Looking out the window, his heart froze.
"ICEBERG!!!" He shouted, spinning the steering wheel as fast as he could. "NOOO!!!!!"
Three months later
A remote beach someone on the coast of Spain
One of the boxes washed up onto the beach, shoved onto it's side by the strength of the Atlantic ocean. It lay there for a time, all alone. But soon enough, another box was washed up. Then another. And another.
Over the course of an hour, hundreds of boxes began washing up on the beach, the cargo of the sunken tanker. When it was finished, one thousand boxes were on the beach. One of the boxes began to wiggle. The latch began to move as something moved against it. Then with a loud pop, it was shoved off.
A tiny robot scurried out of the box, it's sensors alive and going. It scanned the surrounding area, searching for a life form. Detecting a large grouping, it began to roll off the beach into the forest.
Behind it, other robots began to scurry out of the boxes.
Soon, a robot force one million strong was heading into Europe.