Thursday, October 8, 2009

Daily Story 176: Option Three

"Human. You Will Enter The Holding Area Or Be Executed."
Luke hiked himself up onto the workbench and looked at the beast. The main body was just a dull metal sphere about five feet in diameter, but those arms... six long, flexible mechanical arms spaced evenly around the body acted as locomotion, manipulators, eyes, and everything else. He had watched one fire energy weapons out of them too, obliterating a tank in two hits. His fear was overpowered by curiosity - what was their power source? It had to be something incredible.

He wanted more than anything to take one apart.

"Second Notice. You Will Enter The Holding Area Or Be Executed."
Luke had reason to doubt the 'or' part - he had watched as they singled out only three people from a pen containing at least a thousand and burned the rest alive. There had been some sort of interview process, but Luke wasn't sure what skills or knowledge they wanted. Probably they weren't interested in an environmental activist even if he was an engineer - particularly since they seemed to be way ahead of him in his chosen area of expertise. Just in case, though, "I'm an engineer. I'm trying to get those gas guzzlers off of the road." The clawlike end of one arm opened, and began to glow. Luke took the hint.

Hopping down from the workbench, he stepped around his unwelcome guest and headed slowly towards the open garage door. It didn't seem worried about him passing so close to it, which was hardly surprising; even the military hadn't had any luck in the one battle Luke witnessed. Force fields of some sort, flicking away bullets just before impact. Only one had sustained damage, from a high explosive. Even then it wasn't enough. Luke talked as he exited the garage, shoes rattling the metal plate set into the ground. "See, I've always been out to save the world. I didn't count on it being from things like you, but I'm flexible."
He listened with satisfaction as it followed behind him.

"The problem with electric cars, in case you're curious, is the charging time. Takes too long, consumers won't stand for it. Really what they want is a way to refill an empty battery as fast as an empty gas tank. Faster, if possible." There was a heavy metallic sound as the invader stepped onto the plate. "Of course, I got that problem licked. You want to see?" Luke stepped on the switch laying by his feet, and cringed as the air filled with a retina-searing blue glow. Turning, he frowned at the still-standing monstrosity.
"Human." It said, and dropped to the ground. Luke smiled - that was more like it.

"Hu..." it said again, losing half the word to static. "Commu... ..maged. Weapons Damaged. Def... ...maged. Require..."
Luke walked back into his workshop and started sorting through his tools. "Oh, don't you worry. You won't be requiring anything in a minute. Let me just get the torch and pry you open, you'll stop complaining eventually." It was hard to tell with the static, but Luke felt fairly sure he heard it whimper.