Machine Crusher Matarobos
Australia in the year 2400 was no place for the timid. As in most of the world, human habitations came under attack from malicious robots, but it wasn't some heroic war of resistance against cybernetic tyranny; rather, the robots merely preyed upon humans the way lions preyed upon gazelles, and humans did what they could to avoid losing their lives. And there were always more robots.
Peter Bronsted stood with his militia unit on the front lines of the ongoing battle against the marauding machines, pushing his hometown's frontier ever farther away. His efforts had earned him the name "Matarobos" -- the robot-killer.
Forest surrounded Peter's unit on all sides, but overgrown trees and tough underbrush were the least of his worries. In the hot sun, sweat dripping from his cowboy hat as he gripped his rifle, he had to stay on the lookout for robots whether they approached along the ground, below the ground, or through the air. They pushed ahead, taking whatever risks they needed to.
Bushes ahead of him rustled. Peter raised his rifle, and his comrades did so as well. Peter sniffed the exhaust fumes; this one used liquid fuel.
"Wait! Stop moving!" said Peter. Robots usually knew how to camouflage. In the forest, battery-operated robots were masters of stealth. Liquid-fueled robots, on the other hand, preferred the open range. Finding something liquid-fueled in the forest meant only one thing: it did not care about being noticed, because it was confident in its power.
Peter did not wait for the machine to show itself. "Fire at will!" he ordered. Bullets thundered out from each militiaman's gun and shredded not only the bush but the robot hidden in it. A rover, shot full of holes and leaking oil, tried to fire its rotary guns, but the underlying assembly had been smashed by multiple armor-piercing rounds, so all it could do was rotate the gun only a little ways before it got stuck. Peter emptied a magazine into the robot just to be sure it didn't have any additional tricks in its solid state drive.
"Wasting bullets over that little thing makes no sense," said a young militiaman named Renard.
"Stay focused -- there's more of them," Peter replied. Surely enough, several more rustlings could be heard, but there was no hiding this time: several more rovers, each one rolling on treads like a tiny tank, advanced through the forest. Peter's group fell back, hiding amongst the trees as they went. They headed for a hill just ahead of them, and the robots had a hard time keeping up due to all the underbrush and upraised roots. Once Peter's group reached the hill, they crawled up it to throw off the robots' aim. Peter then stood up and checked around him.
"Drat," he said. He could see the town of Beagle in the distance, along with the farms on its periphery. If the robots reached the hill, the town and the farms would be well within artillery range. Once Peter's men reached the top, he signaled for them to ready their grenades. They had no grenade launchers or rockets, so they had to do it by hand.
"Fire in the hole!" shouted Peter. In near unison, the men released the pins and tossed the grenades straight at the advancing robots, careful to avoid the trees. In seconds, the grenades exploded, and their individual booms all merged into one deafening blast that forced the men to kneel and cover their ears. Trees caught in the blast fell as well, adding to the noise.
When the smoke cleared, many of the robots could only limp along, as their treads had been torn and their guidance systems had taken a beating. Several of them caught fire when their fuel struck their shorting circuits.
"We've got them now. Attack!" said Peter. The men advanced down the hill again. The robots tried to shoot back, but their vision systems had taken too much damage from the blasts; all the maimed machines could do was fire their guns willy-nilly and hope they hit something. Peter and his men shot them full of holes, and in mere seconds, the robots were little more than smoldering husks of metal, no more dangerous than a stack of firewood.
"Good job, men," said Peter. He took a biscuit out and popped it into his mouth.
"Looks to me like we're running low on supplies, Boss. Another attack like that and we'd be clear out of bullets," said Renard.
"I figured as much," said Peter. "Quimby, head into town and get some ammo and extra rations. We'll set up camp and rest here for now." Quimby, a boy of thirteen, sighed at the order. This was his first time with a militia, and Peter took him on only because he had begged so much to fight alongside the great Matarobos.
"Sure about this, Boss? I mean, there'll just be more robots -- this thing will never end," said Quimby.
Peter glared at him. "Get the supplies."
"Right on it," replied Quimby in a panic. He sped off into town.
Machine Crusher Matarobos
Above image from the National Library of Scotland.
All my stories can be found here.
I'm Rawle Nyanzi, a professional author who seeks only to entertain. My blog is a convenient place where you can find all my writings and some of my opinions on various topics relating to politics, pop culture, and even gender.
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