#85 Fractured Guidance

by Brian T. Truitt

“Got ‘em! Right in the eye! See!”

Laughter rang out, the mean spiteful kind boys laugh when mischief abounds. Further up the slope of rusting components and rotting wires the abandoned assembly robot waved its arm, an ineffective attempt to ward off their pellet gun barrage. The loss of depth perception with the left lens shattered guaranteed the boys could plink it to death.

Their celebration dance ended when a concrete chunk knocked the weapon from the boy’s hand, drawing a yell of surprise along with a bit of blood. Several projectiles followed that one as Meredith drove the boys back outside the junkyard fence.

Taunts came at her from behind cover, tinged with injured pride. “You can’t guard ‘em forever, we’ll get ‘em after yer gone!”

She picked her way up the slope carefully, and surveyed the damage done to old Unit 37. Scavenging from junk nearby revealed a replacement lens, which she deftly replaced in the injured machine.

“He’s right you know. I can’t hang around here much longer to protect you. You’re basically a huge arm, why don’t you throw stuff at them?”

“Programming prevents injuring humans, except to prevent more critical injury.”

She looked up into the lenses, then grinned wickedly at her reflection in them. “Knowing you were out here defenseless would kill me with worry you know . . .”

A few moments of silence passed, then Unit 37 started picking spokes off an abandoned bicycle. “These should only wound them.”


Sam Knight said...

What a great world you created, and in such a microcosm! I felt like was a kid reading Heinlein again!

Whipchick said...

I love that this is meaningful but still has a wicked sense of humor!

Anonymous said...

I loved Meredith's protectiveness of poor Unit 37, and also how she coerces him into at least minimally protecting himself. :)