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Astronaut Scot MAG
It was a strange planet, Z1q04ET. Almostcompletely barren except for the boulders and rocks that covered itsbluish surface. I didn’t know why the captain wanted that planetas a base, but it isn’t my job to ask questions. It’s my jobto answer them. The name’s Astronaut Scot. I’m a planetaryscout for the Ga-lactic Army of the United Earth and one of the best.
As standard procedure, I made a space jump to the planet,leaving my ship in orbit. My rockets began firing to slow my descent. Myvisor was already scanning the surface for signs of life, or moreimportantly, artificial life. We were fighting androids - you know,robots. They were being controlled by some force against Earth. Wesoldiers didn’t know who they were, but it isn’t our job toask questions. Our job is to answer when the UE needsus.
We’re very good at what we do.
My seven-year-oldbrother has always been a little, you know, imaginative. Well, actually,it’s worse than that. He’s probably got ADHD on acid but Idon’t tell my parents that. They think he’s“special.” I know for a fact that he’sinsane.
So, I was outside in my backyard shooting some hoops oneday when I saw my brother come out of the treehouse my dad made when Iwas little. Well, little Mr. Imagination took it over as soon as hecould climb into it and I haven’t been up there since. I thinkit’s his bat cave or spaceship or something. Anyway, I heard thetrapdoor open and looked over to see him climbing down the laddercompletely covered in tinfoil! I don’t know what he thought hewas, but he must have been really convinced since he used at least fourrolls of the stuff. It surprised me but I ignored it. Mom never listensto me when I tell her what he’s doing, she just thinks it’s“cute” and that I’m tattling on him.Whatever.
I landed and took soil and air samples, but I reallyneeded to find a site for a base. I took off at a quick trot, my legshelped along by the mechanical components of my spacesuit. Ihadn’t gone far, maybe five miles, when it appeared on radar. Icould tell it was an android even before I saw it. I knew what was outthere. That knowledge that you are alone on a planet with one of thoseheartless androids, those killing machines, could make anyone’sblood run cold. Anyone except for me. Frying those rust buckets is partof my job. It has always been my favorite part.
I pressed a fewbuttons on my suit to activate the camouflage. Images of the desert wereprojected on my suit. If anyone were to look at me, they would only seethe images of what was behind me. I wasn’t really invisible, butthis was good enough to trick an android. I also pulled out my trusty220 RM Plasma rifle and filled my belt with plasma grenades, standardequipment.
I kept trotting until I saw it over the top of aboulder. The android was standing straight up, scanning the horizon withits video camera. It looked like it was wearing the same spacesuit Iwas, but I knew that body armor wasn’t protecting anything. Therewas nothing inside that suit except a computer. A cold killing machine.Scrap metal. And there’s only one way to dispose of scrap metal:send it to the incinerator!
I kept shooting hoops, working onmy three-point shot, when I realized he was actually circling me,avoiding me, but staring straight at me the whole time! He must havethought I was an alien! The whole time he was muttering to himself, too,as he hid behind the grill. He mutters like that so often that myparents just ignore it, but it still creeps me out. I tried to ignorehim and wound up for another shot.
I circled around and crouchedbehind a boulder, unclipping a plasma grenade from my belt. I took quickaim over the top, initiated the countdown, and tossed the grenade over.I was rewarded with a swift explosion as shrapnel flew around the edges.
And then, all of a sudden, splooosh! A water balloon hit me inthe back of the head.
I radioed to base, “Scout five tobase, reporting. We have a bogey scout found and destroyed. Repeat,destroyed.” I stood and surveyed the scene, expecting to see aburn scar and a few pieces of metal in the site of the explosion.
I wheeled around, hoping that on the off chance it was only afriend of mine, but no. I could see his head ducking behind our grill. Icouldn’t believe that mid-get would even dare! Who did he think hewas?
What I saw was a perfectly functioning, fearless killingmachine staring straight at me. I ducked again and cursed under mybreath. Not only had the best grenade known to the UE been completelyineffective, but my active camouflage wasn’t working either.Apparently it had turned on heat vision after the attack.
Iwould have told my mom, but I knew she would have said: “Oh,isn’t that so cute! Don’t you dare touch him, young man!He’s just trying to play with you.” I could hear her sicklysweet voice in my head, sense her ignorance. I knew that he wasn’tdoing this to play.
I shouted into the radio, “Negative,negative! Grenade was ineffective. Repeat, bogey was unaffected!”
I knew that there was almost nothing I could do now. My heatwould be picked up by that thing’s heat vision and the most myrifle could be was a distraction. Blood began pounding through my ears;my helmet became humid with sweat. I had heard horror stories about whatthese things could do. Like how they were strong enough to rip yourheart, helmet and all, straight from your suit, and that their onlyweapons - metal balls super-charged with atomic energy - could explodeevery atom in your body. Panicked hands gripped the rifle tightly as itbegan its approach. The throbbing in my ears grew louder and faster!
He was doing this just to annoy me. I started walking toward thegrill. I could hear him mumbling about a booger, I think. I stopped atthe grill and peered down at him.
It came into range and I letloose! “Aaaaaaahhhh!” I screamed into my silent radio,clenching my rifle’s trigger as every plasma bullet thuddedmeaninglessly into the android’s cold chest.“Aaaaaahhhh!”
He looked straight up at me. His eyeswidened and then he started screaming. He screamed as loud as he could,then pulled out a water gun and started shooting me! I walked toward himeven faster, saving all my energy for the worst noogie imaginable.He’d never do anything to me afterthis!
“You’re asking for it!” I yelled, as hecompletely soaked my shirt and shot me in the mouth, “You are -ssptt - gonna get the worst - ssptt - noogie of all time! You’llbe more than yelling by the time I’m done withyou!”
I was running, shoving fresh clips into my rifle andfiring over my shoulder as I went, but it was no use.
His watergun must have lost pressure because he took off for the tree house,pumping as he ran, yelling to himself again, this time about“charades.” It really annoys me the way he does that! Ialways seem to be the target of these things and he thinks it’sjust a game. I picked up a tennis ball as I ran and wound up for athrow.
I risked a glance only to see the android closing in,an energy ball glowing green in its titanium grip. It was winding up,ready to throw it at me at more than 200 miles an hour!
Andthat’s when the weirdest thing happened.
I wheeled aroundjust as my suit’s defenses kicked in. The energy ball seemed toslow in the air, suspended.
Somehow, he saw it before it hit himand he dodged it. He didn’t just dodge it, though.
One ofthe geniuses of the suit: an injection of pure adrenaline plus the superspeed of my spacesuit equals incredible reaction time.
Hestarted leaning back, really slowly, you know, and waving his arms inthe air. He was making this sound, like wind in slow motion, and evenafter the tennis ball missed him, he stood there, waving his arms andbending backwards like he was in an action movie.
I could see itgoing straight for my head, but I was ready. Wheeling my arms forbalance, I bent backwards and watched a fully charged energy ball sailinches from my helmet visor.
It was just so stupid that Istopped to watch. As soon as it began, he looked at me as if to sayWhat? Are you still here? and then took off.
It passed and I wasimmediately up and running again. I wasn’t strong enough or fastenough to dodge all of those things, so I would have to get to my ship.I pushed a couple of buttons on my suit and my rockets emerged, sparked,and lifted me off the ground.
He made it to the rope ladder ofhis treehouse and started to climb, making spaceship sounds as he went.I caught up and managed to grab his ankle before he made itup.
But the android was right on my tail and as I gainedaltitude, it jumped and grabbed my ankle. I could feel it climbing up myleg. It wanted to get to my head. It was trying to get to my head!
He was hard to hang on to. He was squirming and whining like ababy when its pacifier is taken away. I tried to pull him down and givehim the atomic noogie that he deserved,
With final desperation Ishot at it with my rifle again and again, aiming for where the eyeswould be. It was starting to loosen its grip and then - I watched as itfell toward the distant surface of the planet. It couldn’t get meanymore.
But before I knew it, he was shooting me again with thatwater gun, right in the eyes! Well, it was too much, the water in myeyes, the kicking squirming kid, and so I let go. He zoomed up thatladder as though he were in a rocket or something and before I couldstop him, he had pulled up the rope ladder.
Finally, I got backto my ship, got out of my suit in the airlock and walked out to thebridge.
Ha! The brat thought he was safe, but I had him now. Notonly had he completely soaked me, but he had also locked himself intothe tree house, a big no-no with my overprotective mom. I couldn’thelp but grin. He though that he was safe, but I finally had him.
It was the moment I entered the bridge that I finally got radioconnection again. Through the haze of static, I could barely make out:“General, we have a mother ship approaching!”