Machine Crusher Matarobos
What remained of Peter's force -- six people -- trudged back into their home village outside Beagle, tired and worn out. Their loads were lighter due to them having used up all their gear, but it didn't make a difference in their fatigue. The villagers all gathered around their hero.
"Matarobos, did you knock 'em dead?"
"Matarobos, will we be safe?"
The questions just blurred together eventually. Peter restrained his urge to tell them all to just leave him alone. He signaled for them to give him some room, then stood straight up.
"When we went beyond the forest, we happened upon the facilities, but they had other humans inside, shooting at us. I'm not even sure why humans would join up with robots, but we had to kill those people, unfortunately. I don't think it's the last of them, though," said Peter.
A murmur arose from the villagers. It was too much to take in; for as long as they could remember, humans fought against robots, not each other. Anything else struck them as profoundly illogical, and they couldn't make sense of what Peter told them. Peter himself couldn't make sense of it. He knew, of course, that there were humans beyond Beagle -- they came in to trade every so often. But humans fighting each other came off as vile to him. A profound sense of defeat and despair fell over him. This sort of thing just shouldn't be.
He entered his house. It was a simple house, like any other rancher would have. His children were outside, tending the sheep while his wife dusted the house. His wife was a small woman, not at all like her more vigorous sisters, some of whom were wives to his men.
"I heard you from the window. I wouldn't wish anything like that on my worst enemy," said the wife.
"Cassidy," Peter said between labored breaths. "I need some relief." Human bodies ripped asunder by bullets. Pools of blood created by his own hand. The very idea that they would raise arms against their fellow people en masse. This wasn't what his father taught him -- about how humanity had united against the robots. The bedtime stories that inspired him to crush robots all came off as trickery and naive idiocy.
A fluke, like a human criminal. Maybe it was just that. But there were so many, and they were so determined -- his skin crawled. No, it had to be something else entirely.
"Relief? Did you get hurt out there? Any bleeding?" asked Cassidy.
"No," Peter said, limping toward Cassidy. "I just want to enjoy some alone time with you."
"Not now, Pete. There's just so much to do -"
Peter grabbed her and tossed her to the ground. He needed something that felt good, something that always lifted his spirits.
"Stay still." Peter fought Cassidy's struggling, lifting up her skirt. Peter endured blow after blow to the face, but it was nothing he wasn't used to from fighting against the robots. Cassidy screamed for help; her high voice made the shriek especially sharp. Peter just flipped her over and pinned her down, then pulled down her underwear to expose the bottom he so loved to see.
Cassidy's screams were like an air-raid siren. Within minutes, Renard kicked down the door, followed by the other men that went with Peter, as well as the other villagers who had weapons. Peter stopped, simply kneeling over his wife.
"Being a hero doesn't mean the laws don't apply to you!" said Renard. "Now you tell me the truth, Peter. What did you just do to your wife?" He kept the gun pointed right at him.
Peter closed his eyes and shook his head while his wife crawled out from under him. He wanted to stand up, but he was too weak from the march to do so. "I was going to mount her from behind," he said. "I don't know what came over me; what I saw on our expedition...I wanted something nice just to clear it out of my mind."
"Use your right hand next time," said Renard. Peter crawled away in shame and climbed into his bed to get the rest he so desperately needed. He heard the posse leave.
To think I was going to hurt my own wife for my own benefit. I have to take this frustration, this anger, and lob it at the robots. I had no idea they were this crafty, thought Peter. According to their customs, wives existed to invigorate the husbands for repeated battles against robots, as well as provide sons to add to the forces and daughters to tend to the homes and marry other sons. Marriages were arranged to create optimal children for fighting, and wives were never to reward weakness or cowardice in battle.
Peter cursed himself as he lay in bed.
After his rest, Peter felt rejuvenated, but he remained in bed. His children were sound asleep themselves, as night had fallen. He tried to go back to sleep, but that proved impossible.
He heard someone knock. A bell rung when Cassidy opened the door.
"Honey, Renard's here," said Cassidy.
"Let him in, but you leave the house. I need to talk to him alone."
"You owe me for this afternoon, so I'll stay right here," replied Cassidy. Peter sighed; she knew he didn't have to strength to just chuck her out. Renard came into the small bedroom and leaned against the wall, careful not to disturb the photograph of Peter and Cassidy kissing during their marriage ceremony.
"I've had some thoughts about this whole thing," said Renard.
"You're not the only one," replied Peter.
"All this madness...what if it's like crime?" asked Renard.
"Crime doesn't look like that. Those people were determined to destroy us," said Peter.
"What do you think murderers do?"
"But in a massive group? There can't be that many people who would rather side with robots than their own kind."
"If we add up all the executed killers in the history of Beagle, we could probably get a number similar to what the robots were bringing us."
Peter paused for a moment and considered what Renard was telling him. If three or five people can form a gang and torment the innocent to feed their greed, can't 300 or 500 do the same? The implications ran a chill through Peter's spine.
"I see what you mean. I can understand executing that many people, but my question is why? Why would they betray their own kind? What do they get out of it?" asked Peter.
"I'm not sure myself, but something tells me we won't be able to sit and talk about this for much longer. There's probably more where that came from, and judging by how we reacted out there, the robots will probably bring twice as many," said Renard.
"Makes sense," said Peter. "At dawn, we go investigate that area further and see if there are any more humans gearing up to fight us. I hope that what we encountered yesterday was just a few abnormal people. Indeed, there's a chance that if we meet them again, it might be the last of such people."
"One thing's for sure, though -- I won't hesitate again," said Renard. Peter just accepted his friend's words. No amount of arguing could change the situation Beagle found itself in.
"At dawn, gather the men and wake me up. We have to see what the enemy has planned for us," said Peter. Renard nodded.
"Gladly," he said before walking out of the door.
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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