The bastards managed to take the sun from us, too. Smoke and ash like great banks of gray fog choked out the light and turned high noon into near dark. The fires that dotted the city helped with navigation, but we relied on our few remaining pairs of night vision goggles most of the time. We scrambled around burning husks of buildings and tunneled through debris, reduced to living like rodents amongst the ruins of what we had accomplished as a species.
Only fitting since we weren’t at the top of the food chain anymore.
Sometimes, I was glad for the smoke and ash. If we couldn’t see the sky, it meant we couldn’t see the impossibly massive black ships that loomed overhead. However, nothing blocked the sound of them. Even if you plugged your ears to the incessant low hum of their engines, you still felt the vibrations in your teeth.
There was a screech of metal and a series of impacts that shifted the ground beneath my feet. I motioned for my team to take cover while I remained in the open, crouched near a shelled-out SUV. The night vision wasn’t necessary. I knew what was coming for us.
The Raider stalked down what was once four lanes of inner city blacktop. Glowing, dinner plate sized optics scanned the area for anything breathing while the pincers at the end of its arms flexed and released. Beneath the barrel of its main housing sprouted three long, accordion-like legs with cone-shaped feet. The Raiders looked ungainly and almost comical when we first saw them disembark from the transport ships. Now we knew they were specifically designed to travel easily over and through the devastation left behind by the attack fleet. And they were armed with lasers that vaporized anyone still left alive.
Stopping about eight yards from me, the Raider lifted it’s arms and broadcast the same message repeated by all emissaries the hulking motherships sent down to the surface. It was the only communication we ever got from them and the message was either the result of a garbled translation or our visitors had a twisted sense of humor.
“FEAR NOT. YOUR DEATH IS PLEASING TO US.”
I reached around into my backpack for my last EMP grenade. After setting the delay for three seconds, I stood and tossed the grenade under the Raider then crouched down again. The Raider caught the movement, but before it could level its lasers on me, the grenade detonated.
Electromagnetic pulse grenades instantly wipe out all electronics within a ten foot radius. This leaves the target intact so we can scavenge them for parts and weapons. There are few things more satisfying that using the enemy’s own tech against them.
The Raider’s optics dimmed to black and it swayed on its spindly legs, but didn’t topple over. I looked behind me and saw my team on their feet, ready to advance. I gave them the go-ahead and stood, stretching the tension out of my back.
Across the war-ravaged roadway, I saw three rats skirt around a smoldering pile of rubble and I couldn’t help but smile.
Up to this point, all my robots had either been completely benign, led astray, or were the victims of poor programing. But this guy is actually a bad mother-shut your mouth! Quite fitting, I think, since this is the month of all things dark and sinister. And, if you’ve spent any time around me at all, you’ll know that October is also my very favorite month since it is the month of Halloween.
I love Halloween.
Like really, truly, would have it’s babies type love.
I’d hide Halloween’s bag of weed down my pants if we got pulled over by the cops.
I’d cut the break lines on Halloween’s abusive step-father’s car.
I’d sit and wait at Halloween’s house for the Direct TV guy for five hours because I know that Halloween has much more important crap to do with its day.
I’ll spare you the rest.
Anywhoo . . .
If you’d like to know more about my robots, please visit my Robot-A-Month page.
If you’d like to know more about how much I love Halloween you can take a gander at this.