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Star Beam and the Seven Robots
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a peaceful planet ruled by an honest king and his gentle wife. The planet was prosperous, with vast farmlands and thriving cities. Everyone who lived there was happy.
Everyone except for the king and queen, who wanted nothing more than an heir to watch over the planet after they were gone. Though they had tried for many years, no child was born to them.
One night, as the queen was using her telescope to observe the heavens, she saw a comet streak across the night sky with a beautiful silver-blue tail.
“I wish I could have a healthy daughter,” she told the comet as it disappeared from view. “I wish she had cheeks as red as roses, and hair the color of starlight.”
The comet granted her request, and soon after the kingdom had a healthy princess, whom the queen had named Star Beam for her silver hair. The people were overjoyed at the arrival of the beautiful new princess. The celebration lasted for weeks.
But their merriment came to a tragic halt as the queen fell very ill. Though the doctors and med-bots tried all that they could, they could not save the poor queen. Less than a year after the birth of her daughter, the queen passed away. The kingdom mourned heavily the loss of their beloved monarch.
Though the king missed his wife terribly, he still had to take care of his people and his family, so he decided to remarry. The woman he chose to be his second wife was a duchess from another planet, known for her beauty as well as her quiet nature.
She was completely different from the previous queen. She was vain and conceited, and envied her step-daughter’s love from all of the people. She would dress herself in expensive clothing and wear immense amounts of make-up and jewels, but she was never noticed the same way as the lovely Star Beam.
All this time the princess grew, kinder and more beautiful with every passing year. Everyone who lived at the castle could see that she was just like her mother in spirit, and heart. Even the new queen could see that she was exceptionally gentle to everyone, something she could neither understand nor impersonate.
Before Star Beam had turned twelve years of age, the king passed away suddenly, leaving the kingdom in the control of the arrogant queen until the princess was old enough to be married and could take her rightful place as ruler.
But her step-mother was determined to keep that from happening. She dismissed the entire staff of the castle, including all the robots, and left the cleaning and cooking to her step-daughter, whom she had all but stripped her title from.
Much to the queen’s dismay, the young girl enjoyed cleaning and cooking for her, even singing to herself as she dusted monitors, or mopped the chrome floor of the kitchen until it gleamed.
The few visitors who entered the castle saw the smiling princess, dressed in rags that the queen had given her, and sympathized with the innocent noble. They grew to despise the tyrant queen, but they were punished severely should their thought reach her ears.
The queen had a way of knowing everything that happened throughout the entirety of her lands, from rebellions to complaints on taxes. And anyone who spoke out against her faced the threat of being thrown into one of her prisons.
As the princess’s fifteenth birthday approached, the queen heard tell of a prince who was an ally of theirs and wanted to marry the beautiful Star Beam, who was one of his childhood friends. He would be visiting them soon. She could not let that happen so she sought the council of her Omnidroid, a robot that kept track of her planet and had an amazing ability for perceiving events.
“This suitor coming for the princess,” she said to the automaton. “How should I deal with him?”
“There are many options for your course of action, my queen,” answered the simulated voice of the machine. “The most logical would be to deny him visitation and keep the princess from seeing him.”
“I need something more permanent,” mused the distraught monarch.
“You could send the princess to a remote location where the prince will not find her. Then the prince will return to his home having failed to take the princess’s hand.”
The queen smiled at the thought of ridding herself of the girl who was a daily reminder of how imperfect she was. “That is a wonderful idea, Omnidroid. I think I’ll do just that.”
A week before the prince was said to show up, the queen had the princess prepare her things for a long journey. The woman did not tell the young girl where she was going, but the princess obeyed her.
She was then placed on a starship with her few belongings, including a nice gown and her toys from when she was younger. She waved to her people as the unmarked ship took off to an unknown destination.
Two days later, Star Beam was on a barren planet inhabited only by robots there to mine ultrararium.
She began to feel betrayed, having trusted her step-mother only to be banished to a desolate planet without any resources. She started to weep as the starship headed back home.
Her sobbing attracted the attention of some of the passing drones headed to the mines.
“Why are you crying?” asked one of the Recordingbots in a computerized voice.
She wiped her eyes before answering. “I’m never going to see my home again,” she told the flying robot. “I’ll die here and no one will even know.”
The eye-ball shaped robot hovered over her, watching her cry for a short while before a med-bot arrived.
“This is peculiar,” stated the almost humanoid robot looking down at her. “Thank you for calling me RD5674.”
“What are you talking about?” asked the befuddled princess.
“This Recorder drone signaled for me to come here,” answered the med-bot. “I am here to make sure that you do not die. There are provisions here for organic life forms if you would like them.”
“Thank you,” said Star Beam, tear still staining her rosy cheeks. “I would like that very much, if it isn’t too much trouble.”
“It is not a problem,” buzzed the Recorderbot. “If you would follow me, I can take you to my squadron’s base.”
She stood and brushed the dust off of her dress. She was smiling as she followed the robot to its hangar.
Star Beam was left alone in the robot’s bunker as the Recorder and med-bot had other jobs and obligations. So she decided to surprise the other robots that lived there by tidying up the place. She sang as she swept and sorted. Before she even realized it she was surrounded by a mechanical audience.
“Oh, hello.” She smiled to the other robots. “My name is Star Beam, and I’ll be staying with you for awhile, I suppose.”
The robots looked at her before one that had drills and pickaxes for arms responded. “Welcome to our home, Star,” he greeted her enthusiastically. “My name is Miner, and these are Clicker.” He pointed to a gray bot with a detonator for a hand. “Sorter,” who had to metal claws. “Recorder,” a eyeball shaped droid with a propellor on top. “Scatcher,” with his two metal claws. “Carrier,” who had a bucket attatched to his arms on a swivel. “And Glitchy.”
“Glitchy?” wondered the silver-haired girl.
“He was in an accident awhile back,” explained Scratcher. “He only knows some of his more basic functions anymore.”
Right then, the digging robot with a plate of somewhat matching green metal decided to start digging a hole in the dirt floor of the bunker.
Sorter pulled open a control panel on his back and returned him to his previous, nutural state.
“Well,” said the kind princess, “I am very glad to meet all of you, and I hope we can be friends,” she smiled.
Meanwhile, back on Star’s home planet, the queen was not satisfied with just having banished the princess. She was irritated at the very thought that Star Beam still existed in the same universe as her.
She voiced her complaints to the Omnidroid. “I need to destroy that girl, or I will never be happy!”
The machine calculated. “You could go to her or send someone to send someone else to dispatch her.”
“I know that,” the tyrant snapped. “I just don’t know how I should.”
“An assassin would be of use, and I could easily find you the best one for the job.”
“No,” the queen smiled crookedly. “I think I’ll do this myself. Set some disguise generators up. I’m going to need them.”
The princess’s wish came true and she befriended the robots who were protecting her. She kept their base clean and they shared their secrets and stories. They enjoyed each other’s company and played a lot.
One day the princess decided to do some knitting while she waited for the droids to return from the mines. She had almost finished a scarf when there was a knock at the hatch door of the bunker.
Star Beam thought it was odd, but she went to check to see who it could be. She looked though the oneway porthole on the hatch and saw an old woman being led by a med-bot. She opened the hatch.
“Oh, my!” she started. “How did you get here?”
The woman was none other than her music and art tutor from when her father was still alive.
“The queen sent me here as punishment for not being able to pay her taxes,” answered the woman as the med-bot turned and left. When he was gone, she suddenly had a massive coughing fit.
“Please come inside, teacher,” said Star Beam as she led her tutor down into the bunker. “You must be exhausted from your journey. Would you like me to get you anything?”
“No, I am quite alright, dear,” answered the old woman. “I actually have something that I would like to give you.” She reached into her pocket and drew out a large ruby pendent. “This was your mother’s and your father told me years ago that I was to give it to you on you fifteenth birthday, which, if I’m not mistaken, is today.”
Star reached out for the necklace, taking it gingerly into her hands. “This belonged to my mother?”
“Yes, it was an heirloom passed down through generations, given to the first daughter for her coming of age. And now it finally belongs to you.”
Star looked at the bauble for quite awhile. “It is far too pretty for someone like me.”
“You’re wrong, it would look perfect on you,” comforted the teacher. “The jewel is perfect for someone as wise and lovely as you are, my princess.”
With her mentors encouragment, she pulled the necklace over her head. As soon as the cool stone touched her chest she began to feel light headed. What is this? she tried to say but the air was being sucked from her lungs. She fell to the ground, the life leaving her eyes.
“I’ve done it,” laughed the woman, the clever disguise melting away to reveal the queen. “I have finally won! She is finally gone from my perfect world!” She continued to laugh as she looked down at Star Beam’s lifeless body. She had placed a special stone called a Blood Ruby in that necklace, one that would give anyone who put it next to their heart the appearance of death. Unless she was awoken with a kiss in seven days, she would never revive.
The queen left her there, and climbed out of the hatch. She stepped out and headed gleefully for the far off place where here private starship home was waiting.
The robots would have cried if they had tears. When they found Star lying dead on the floor, they didn’t know what to think. Their friend was gone, and they had no idea what had happened.
Glitchy started to buzz frantically.
“We know, my friend,” said Sorter. “She is gone.”
Glitchy continued to buzz and beep as he circled a spot on the floor. It was his way of saying “Look here!”
Recorder flew over to the area and saw what Glitchy had noticed. “This is a hollow matrix!” he exclaimed. “Someone disguised themselves to kill our Star!”
The robots became frenzied. “We must avenge her!” they shouted. “Find the killer!” The yelled and cried as the climed out of the bunker and followed the queen’s trail as fast as they could before the wind blew it away.
Before long they caught up to her.
“You killed Star!” shouted Miner! “You’re going to pay!”
The queen grew scared. She had not thought that the robots would grow attached to the princess. She started to run, frantically trying to reach her escape vehical.
But there was no way she could outrun the robots, and she knew that. She reached into her robe, trying to find a weapon. She finally grasped her hands around a gun and aimed at her pursuers.
They were ready for her and Carrier dropped a sticky explosive onto her. But she threw off the robe before Clicker could detonate it.
She lost track of where she was, and ran staight to their mine. She reached the edge of the canyon and looked over. The only way forward was down so she turne dand started firing at the robots. They eveded every bullet.
But the cliff didn’t and an avalanche started. The robots all scrambled to get out of the way, but the queen couldn’t escape. She was no more.
The robots did what seemed like a collective sigh as they were all still intact. Then they headed back home.
The automatons decided to send the princess home to be buried. They found the queen’s starship and took her to the planet she came from. They informed the officials that both the queen and the princess had passed on, and that they wished for a funeral to be planned for their princess.
The entire planet mourned the princess’s death.
The prince who had wanted to marry her even came to pay his respects. As he looked solemnly at his beloved Star Beam, he noticed the pendant she was wearing. He recognized it instantly as the Blood Ruby, and reached out and grabbed it off of her.
Then he bent over and kissed her.
Everyone who saw this gasped. But they were silenced as the silver-haired girl began to stir. The princess sat up on the bed that she’d been laid on.
The people cheered. The princess was alive!
She turned to the prince and smiled at him. Then she threw her arms around him and held him tight.
And everyone lived happily forever after.