Tag Archives: Robopicket

Robopicket

Kids and robots are a winning combo for me, hopefully you guys don’t get sick of them. This is me taking a stab at writing a deaf protagonist, so I tried to emphasize the other senses and not mention sounds. It’s an interesting challenge and something you don’t see too often. I like the idea and the scenario, so I may return to this one some time.

Billy was perched on Kacee’s dome, his shoes only slipping a little on the scuffed chrome of his robot pal’s head, working at unscrewing the tiny bolts that held the burned-out light panel in place, when the Pinkertons bombed the picket line outside of Houston’s. Billy felt the world shudder. Kacee’s dome jerked around, throwing the boy to the ground. He landed hard on his backside, then cried out and covered his head with his arms as the light panel, jarred loose by the attack, fell and shattered on the pavement just a foot to his left.

Billy lashed a foot against Kacee’s legs as he brushed tiny bits of jagged plastic from the folds of his sleeves, but the robot had already turned away, its short, stout legs carrying it toward some commotion down the street. He looked up to the tunnel ceiling, where thin cylindrical tubes flashed a harsh red, beating out a cadence of bitter shadows all around the street. The ground shook, and Billy pushed himself up against the front of the store and watched as emergency crews ran in the same direction Kacee had gone. Billy closed his eyes and tried to shut out the vibrations wracking him from every direction.

After a few minutes, the quiver in the sidewalk lessened, and Billy peeked out into the street. Ambulances had arrived, but the medics milled about aimlessly. He looked down toward where Kacee had fled and saw the mass of bodies.

Dozens of robot forms lay still, various appendages jutting into the air. A few that weren’t dependent on thin, human-like legs, simply slumped on their treads or sagged between their own axles. A few protest placards still raised in the air, gripped by frozen servos. There were no glowing lights, or swiveling antennae. Humans wandered among them in a daze, poking and prodding at their lifeless comrades. An EMP bomb had devastated the picket line.

Billy felt a deep rumble through the street, and looked up the opposite side of the street. He could see the red and blue glow of police clashing with the emergency lights. The cops were coming.

He surged to his feet and ran toward the factory.