Trials of the Cybermancer! – Chapter 21: The Hoard and the Horde

“No, I’m not a Cybermancer,” I tell Kobi. “I went to this address because your father is trying to kill me and I needed to get away.”

Or maybe he is only trying to seriously injure me? He was unclear on that.

“Oh.” Kobi sets down the VHS copy of Point Break and begins to ponder this. “That’s okay,” he says, finally.

…Eh?

“…Huh?”

“Wha?” he asks.

“Uhh.” I’m just.. really confused by his reaction here. “You’re okay with this…?”

“Yes,” he says. “I hate the Cybermancers. They’re really messy and mean and even if they give me presents, I know they probably stole it from someone else. I don’t like it when my Dad does Cybermancer stuff.”

Oh.

I feel like I’ve walked into something that I am under-qualified to handle.

“Listen. You seem nice, but I’m in danger right now and I need something that will help stop your father from hurting me. Do you… know anything?”

“You could always take me hostage,” Kobi says.

“N…no.”

“You could burn this apartment down. All his weapons and stolen stuff are in here.”

“Absolutely not– wait, could you show that to me?”

“Sure.” Kobi walks over to the closet by his bedroom and opens the door. It’s just a bunch of t-shirts, but once he pushes it back it reveals an opening leading to a much bigger room inside.

“I think this violates the terms of your lease,” I say.

“My Dad rents this apartment and the one next to it. All the stuff in the other room is where he works on his gadgets and sometimes takes ladies home.”

I don’t want the mental image of Moonslash making out with anyone.

So he’s rich enough to afford two multi-bedroom apartments in downtown Atlanta. Even if this is one of the worse areas of town, it’s still in the multi-thousands, that’s for sure.

There’s so much… STUFF in here.

Boxes upon boxes of unopened products, probably everything he was able to steal during his time as Edd Rockatansky, K-Store Supervisor (good title for a comic book). Most of the stuff is innocuous, like skateboards and toys that were hot in previous May Holiday seasons, but there’s also a lot of personal computers, most of those opened and lying about on various workbenches. The place is a real mess, by the way. He really needs someone to clean up for him.

And then I walk into one of this apartment’s bedrooms, where–

Oh mother.

Golly gee, it’s all the copies of Genesis Crush that Moonslash was successfully able to steal. Like he had said before… about two hundred of them.

This is like entering Fort Knox.

This is like Heaven.

“Genesis Crush…” I mutter.

I really want to play the game. I really wish I could be done with all of this.

“Well… one extra copy couldn’t hurt…”

“If you steal all of this, My Dad will probably only get more mad and steal more stuff. So I don’t think you should do that.”

“Does your Dad keep strict accounting practices or something?”

“Yes. He does all the accounting for the other Cybermancers. That’s his skill.”

“Oh. That actually makes sense when you think about it.”

“My Dad’s really good with keeping track of things.”

“Everything?”

“Mostly everything.”

Knock knock knock knock.

Eh?

Knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock.

“That’s weird,” Kobi says. “Why is someone knocking on the door to Dad’s workshop?”

Knock. Knock.

I look through the peephole little thing in the center of the door.

It’s a couple robots knocking incessantly.

Robot door-to-door salesman are a scourge on the Earth. However, I don’t think these robots are going to be particularly friendly, and probably aren’t here to sell us some rocket-powered vacuum cleaners.

The robot at the door turns its attention to the peephole, looking deeply into the other side. I quickly back away.

Normally you can never actually see the person on the outside side of a peephole but… Robots are stupid, you know that? Why would they ever be given optical sensors that are THAT good?

It busts the door down.

“I have a message for you. Morgan Harding. From Moon-slash. You thought you could get to the meeting on. Time. You thought wrong. Ha. Ha. Ha.”

It’s repeating itself from before, when the robots attacked me in the Innovation District. Guess some Cybermancers think they can take the easy route when reprogramming AI, huh?

“I will make sure that you cannot. Make it. Now you are exposed. And you will feel. My–.”

I kick the robot away and it falls off the fourth floor and down towards the parking lot below.

It crashes with a resounding thud.

“That was very cool,” Kobi says. “Very much like Bruce Lee in–”

“Shut up, there’s like twenty more of them.”

More robots burst into the apartment and start trying to attack us both. At least five, but everything’s moving too quickly for me to bother keeping count.

I dodge one as it lunges towards me, and it crashes into one of Moonslash’s workbenches.

Some sort of alarm goes off.

“Intruder alert, intruder alert, intruder alert–”

“My Dad has installed some really good security systems. Watch this.”

A small laser-cannon pops up and shoots a hole through one of the robots. It stutters for a moment and falls to the ground, smoke rising from the burning hole in its chest.

Holy geez I don’t want to be hit with that.

A device holding a baseball bat lowers itself from the ceiling where a fan would normally be and starts spinning around. Kobi and I duck, and it slams into a robot head, denting it and knocking it to the ground.

That would have probably killed a human, if the laser didn’t already.

I look around the room to see if there’s anything I could possibly use to fight back. So much junk everywhere…

I pick up a box with a skateboard inside and smack a robot away. 

None of these guys are built for combat, so they aren’t particularly dangerous like, say, an attack bot specially built by Sakaguchi would be. But it’s the sheer number of them that’s making this difficult. This is what people in zombie movies must feel like!

Keeping Kobi safe is my main objective. He’s just some kid caught up in something that he has no place being in, and it’s my fault I got him dragged into it in the first place. If anything happened to him–

Ring ring ring ring!

Oh, come ON.

I should probably ignore this, but… I check the caller ID and it’s from Chuck. Oh, Chuck…

I fight back the robots while holding a cellular in one hand. “Chuck? What’s happening?”

“Sure sounds lively wherever you are, Morgan, but you didn’t show up! What gives? When Moonslash left he was really fuming, I’ll tell you.”

A robot pushes me back and I nearly get clobbered by the still-spinning baseball bat before I swerve out of the way. “Hey, how well did you vet Moonslash before you offered this deal thing?”

“I didn’t. He asked me.”

“Well, did you stop to think that it might be a trap?!”

“Oh, come on. Nobody ever fights each other in my store. I dunno why but it’s pretty good for business.”

“He had his reprogrammed robots jump me before I could make it to the shop!”

“Well then, what are you doing now?”

“I’m at his place,” I say.

“What are you doing at his place?”

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT MY PLACE?!”

“Shit.”

“Shit?”

“It’s him!”

“IT’S YOU!”

Moonslash is here, and he’s angry.

I toss my cellular aside and put both of my fists up. Kobi gets behind me.

Time to fight.

And then a robot clobbers Moonslash and he tumbles onto the ground.

 

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5 comments

  1. Turns out Moonslash’s grand appearence was perhaps not so grand at all.

    These robots are just never going to leave Morgan alone, it seems.

    Maybe you should consider calling this story, Tales of the Robot Fighter.

    1. Moonslash has done grand appearances three times now, and every single one has been pretty middling. I’m wondering if the guy knows he’s losing his touch, or if he’s just prattling along like he’s still at his prime. Probably the latter.

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