A slab of plaster broke free from the ceiling and crashed to the floor behind us after another explosion rocked the building. The Professor and I scrambled down the hallway, dodging falling debris and climbing over toppled furniture. The air was thick with dust, but through a broken window I could see black rocks, some the size of Mini Coopers, falling from the sky, slamming into the south wing of the building and the surrounding grounds. Insanely, I found myself trying to remember if they were called meteors or meteorites once they hit the planet. Then, after an impact tremor almost knocked me off my feet, all I could think about was keeping up with the Professor.
We reached the end of the hall and half fell, half ran down the emergency stairwell to the garage level. From there we felt our way through the dust and smoke until we came to the fortified bunker that housed some of the Professor’s larger experiments. After heaving the thick metal door closed behind me, the sounds of explosions were muffled, but I could still feel the vibrations through the floor and walls. Thankfully, the emergency generators were running, so the lab lights were working, although the assault outside caused them to flicker.
“Sarah, help me with this!”The professor was struggling with a tarp of some kind on the other side of the immense lab.
I ran over to him and helped pull the tarp off what was revealed to be a robot of all things. It had a square body with arms and legs and a wide, rectangular head with two small bulbs for eyes. “What does this do?” I asked him.
“I designed this robot to emit ultra-sonic frequencies,” said the professor as he pushed a few buttons on the robot’s front panel. “The right frequency aimed at the meteors could disintegrate them before they hit the ground.” He turned to me and grabbed my shoulder. His white hair was tinted brown with dust, making him appear years younger. “I told those bastards in D.C. that this was coming, but they didn’t listen to me.”
A particularly large meteorite (that’s what they’re called after they hit the ground, I’d remembered) must have landed nearly on top of us, because the whole lab shifted two feet to my left. The lights flashed and dust sifted down from the ceiling. I was thrown against a nearby desk which I clutched like a life raft. “Professor?”
His head popped into view from behind the robot’s right shoulder. “I’ve got him all warmed up. All I have to do is push this red button and he’ll calibrate the frequency needed to blast the meteors into sand.” He pushed the button and stepped out from behind the robot.
The robot’s eyes glowed bright blue and a screen across its front flashed with indicator bars of different colors. What they meant was beyond me. Then the metal beast fell over, flat on what could be considered its face. The Professor and I stood over the prone robot and watched, stunned, as its head and legs retreated within the body like a mechanical turtle. All its lights and indicators then switched off and the machine just lay there, dark and silent.
I turned to the Professor for some sort of explanation, but he only scratched his head, dust falling from his hair. I stepped closer to the robot and tried to ignore the lab trembling around me. From this new angle, I could see two words printed below a large red square on the robot’s back.
This month’s robot does a trick. He really does open up so his head and legs get stored within his body. How cute is that? Well, not cute if you want him to save the world and all he does is panic, but we’ll ignore that for now.
If you’d like to read about my robots from previous months or just learn what the heck this is all about, please visit my Robot A Month 2012 page.