Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #88: Problem


Last Week as You Recall…   
A phone-booth rang.
        It rang again.
          Dr. Smith passed it by.
             It stopped.
                Another phone booth, a few yards away, started ringing.
                  This pattern repeated twice more before Dr. Smith figured it out and picked up the receiver.
  “Sir?” Said a nervous, faintly robotic voice on the other end, “We have a…Problem.”
     Dr. Smith hung up the phone and started running.
       Capt. Brown, who had no idea what was going on, followed at his top speed.
   He quickly overtook Dr. Smith, because his legs were longer.  “So… Where are we running to?”
      “My *pant* House *squeak* ”  Dr. Smith was surprisingly out of shape for an action hero.
-=-

-=fig. 580: forced entry=-

When they arrived, the door was in pieces.
   “It looks like somebody tried to break in.” Capt. Brown said.
      “It looks like something broke out” Dr. Smith corrected.
-=-
The house was, if not trashed, messier than Jeeves would have ever let it get. 
    Capt. Brown picked up a baseball bat that was lying in the wreckage. 
Dr. Smith saw something moving in the wreckage and held up his hand to get Capt. Brown's attention.  They snuck,
  Until Dr. Smith saw what was rolling.

-=fig. 581: getting ahead=-

Dr. Smith ran over to the head, Capt. Brown removed his hat.
  “Hello Sir,” said Jeeves. “Could you please pick me up?  I can't see a thing from down here.”


-=fig. 582: alas, poor jeeves, i knew him, james.=-

    Capt. Brown stared at the disembodied head, dumbfounded. “He's not…?”
      “Actually, I come apart into five manageable pieces, for easy transport.” Jeeves seemed to have something on his mind. “Sir, I have a feature request.”
         Dr. Smith didn't show it, but he was relieved Jeeves was okay. “And what's that, Jeeves?”
          “Secondary brains, located in each of my limbs, so that I may co-ordinate and regroup when dis-embodied by construction robots.”
             “Wait, they did this to you?” Capt. Brown asked, ditching his wooden baseball bat.  Anything wooden would be useless as a weapon against robots.
               “Actually, Their leader did.”
           Dr. Smith did a double-take, “Wait, they have a Leade– start at the beginning, and I'll see if I can find your body.”
“Alright Sir. First off, how was I to know that connecting them directly to IRCS* would be bad idea? As it turns out they don't have any virus-filtering programs.  As I'm sure you can imagine they went mad and started destroying things, and as I was trying to stop them, one or two of the others went into the supply closet. Remember where you put my old skin?”
 “Well, yeah. You never know when you might need some nearly-indestructible metal–oh no.”
      “That's right Sir.  They came out a while later with a new MK4.  A Nearly-Indestructible one.  I was ‘popped’ apart, and spent the morning trying to contact you.”
           “It was neat what you did with the pay-phones.”
            “Thank you Sir.”
“So what happened?” Capt. Brown hadn't been near enough to hear all of the explanation. 
   “The MK4's jumped Jeeves and made a leader out of that old skin.”
 Capt. Brown sat down.  “Alright, I heard you say that stuff is nearly indestructible, that's good, that means it's destructible.  What'll it take?”
    “Gamma Ray Radiation.”
       “How much?”
         “To completely destroy the leader or just shape the alloy a bit?”
           Capt. Brown put his head in his hands. Getting information out of Dr. Smith was like pulling teeth.  “Let's go with complete destruction.” he said.
              “Alright then.  You'd need quite a lot.”
                  “How Much.
                    “10,300 rads.”
That was quite a lot.  
   Enough to destroy the whole city, and then some. 
                      “How dangerous are these MK4's, anyway?”
                         “Depends on what kind of virus they contracted when Jeeves connected them to…the…IRCS. I Have an idea.” 
-=-
An hour and eight cups of coffee later they found out that the MK4's had disconnected from the network as soon as they contracted the virus.
  “Well that was a bust.” Dr. Smith said as he leaned back in his chair. 
    “I guess the only thing we can do now is to hunt them down. Which shouldn't be too hard because they're giant metal robots.
-=-
-=fig. 583: raygun=-
 
“So what did you say this thing was supposed to be?” Capt. Brown asked as he examined the smoking raygun in his hand,
      “Long-distance defibrillator. And you can't have it. ”
        “Aw, come on.”
          “No, you'll have to fight your wars with plain old lead bullets, just like everyone else.  That way it's fair.” Dr. Smith was big on fairness.
              “But just think, with an army armed with…LRD's we wouldn't have to be the country too small to bother with filled with things no-one wants! We could finally conquer!”
       Dr. Smith looked at him.  It wasn't even an angry look, just disappointed, which was sort of worse. “How do you think France got started?” was all he said.  France and Russia were the worlds two largest countries, they each eaten up half of Europe, and were too busy fighting each other to bother about a country no larger than a largish city, even though it was smack on their borders. 
Capt. Brown was downcast, but that wasn't going to stop him.  “Alright,” he said “Fair enough. How come I've never seen this defibrillator before?”
      “It has what you'd call a…fatal flaw.  You only get one shot per eight hour charge.”
     Capt. Brown pulled the trigger again, the LRD went *Pfzt* and beeped.
       “Eight hours?”
          “Yep.  But I brought a bunch of them so we should be good. Just don't miss, I don't have that many.”
          *Crunch* *Scream!*  Another MK4 had found been located.
Dr. Smith handed Capt. Brown a fresh raygun, “You ready?”

-=fig. 584: ready?=-
  “Of course.”




*Inter-Robotic Communication System, it's worldwide, most robots can access it.  People can too, if they have the right hardware.
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