Thursday, September 17, 2009

Daily Story 155: A Minor Detour

Jasper Cunningham adjusted his bowtie and squinted through coke-bottle glasses at the advancing horde. "Really?" he said, tilting his head to the side. "Bipedal robots? They're so unstable! And look at those feet - they could never hope to follow me down a staircase without going ass over teakettle."
His wife Betty took him gently by the shoulders and steered him down an alleyway.
"Jasper, darling, I'm sure they should have consulted you before building an army of bloodthirsty warbots and unleashing them on Los Angeles - but they didn't. Let the local authorities deal with this, okay?"

Jasper sighed, and thought again about those massive armored shoulders - like a linebacker from a cartoon. So top-heavy, and so big! They wouldn't even be able to go through a doorway without causing structural damage! On an impulse, he picked up a discarded can of green beans and threw it to the far end of the alley. Sure enough, one of the passing robots halted and turned towards them.
"Oh, Jasper. Did you have to do that?" Betty whispered, "I want to meet my new grandchild and if this attack wasn't bad enough - the freeway is standstill, I'm sure - now you're provoking them!"
It marched into the alley and trained a sinister red laser on the can. In an instant Jasper had scrambled up onto its back and was examining the neck area.

"For the love of... Jasper, get down from there!" The warbot was flailing, struggling to reach behind it.
"See, Betty? The armor and weaponry are so oversized it can't even grab someone on its back! What kind of a hack made these things?" He pulled out a strange tool, seemingly from nowhere, and proceeded to remove the metal covering from the neck. After a moment he threw the armor aside and was fiddling with wires. The robot slumped and stopped fighting, but Jasper continued to apply devices from his pockets to the machinery.
"Betty! You won't believe it, the encryption is just terrible. There's just one key, so there's nothing stopping me from sending as if I were the master control. It's criminal how careless some people are."

Betty just waited. She knew that at this point it would be faster to let him finish whatever he was doing. "Almost... and... there!" Jasper hopped down a little too fast and had to clutch his hip for a moment until the pain passed, but he still looked pleased. "With the touch of a button I'm going to set every last one of them to self-destruct!"
"My hero." Betty said, lovingly but with a hint of sarcasm. Jasper pressed a green button on a remote in his hand, and instantly hatches sprung open on the robot's chest. sinister metal tentacles shot out at lightning speed and wrapped around him, and a voice echoed from the speakers in the robot's mouth.

"Professor Justice, how very good to see you again! I've tried so very hard to lure you out of retirement, but always you've refrained. Little did you know that I have long been aware of your one weakness... shoddy craftsmanship of robots!"
Knowing his cue, Jasper shook his one free fist at the robot. "You fiend!" he yelled. Betty rolled her eyes.
"Now that you have fallen into my clutches I will show you the true meaning of pain, of -" the speech was cut off abruptly as an energy beam flared and instantly melted the upper half of the warbot, which dropped Jasper unceremoniously to the ground.

Betty's eyes were slowly fading from red back to blue, and she sighed. "Well, that's ruined my contacts. I'll tell you what, Jasper - we go see your granddaughter, stay for dinner, and tomorrow if you still want to hunt down this character you can take Harvey with you. He's still got that exoskeleton you built for him in college and I'm sure he wouldn't mind getting out of the house after all that time waiting for Marsha to give birth. Do we have a deal?" Jasper nodded - this was clearly going to take a while and he really did want to see his family. "It's a deal, sweetheart."