Ghost in the Machine
by Mere (mbmincey at hotmail.com)
Disclaimer: Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot are the
property of Dark Horse Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Tri-Star,
Paramount (Sony), and their creator's Frank Miller and Geof Darrow.
I claim no rights and make no profit.
Author's Note: This takes place a month after the second
After being relieved of duty, Harry made his way back down
from the main deck, looking forward to a good hot meal. He was an
old salt, really -- four years on a destroyer under his belt before
transferring here, but being stationed on a carrier was still enough
to get his eyes to bulge. And not just any carrier, mind you, but
the USS Dark Horse.
Yeah, that one. It was a small carrier, if you could ever
call a carrier small, and its main function was to house the BGY-11
and Legends One through Three, along with a few other goodies,
should even the robots need a little help. Legend One was such a big
mother that it took up more than bleedin' half of Hangar Bay Two!
And seeing it launched? Seeing it launched from the catapult was
still awe-inspiring, not that he'd ever let on to the chilluns. Heck
He passed by Bay Two, affectionately called the Big Guy Cave,
and nodded hello as he always did to their most famous, reclusive
crewmember. He hadn't exactly chatted with the robot, it only being
powered up when coming and going between the Dark Horse to
wherever, but it seemed almost... human. Something that either
delighted people or disturbed them.
Robots had the unique combination of inspiring wonder and
trepidation, especially military prototypes. and especially these
days, what with evil robots running around. But kids loved him. If
they had the chance to get close to him, they'd run right up to Big
Guy without the slightest apprehension, completely trusting of the
huge, walking, talking arsenal. Maybe because he had been around so
long. Or the way he had been designed. Or maybe because he was on
posters, lunch boxes, and had his own toy line. He was a real life
superhero to them, complete with a cute-as-a-button sidekick, not a
weapon of mass destruction they should be afraid of. Of course, if
Quark kept it up, Big Guy and Rusty would be the only robots people
would trust. There were those Home Version Rustys, of course, and
then the Nanny Alice line that had quickly fizzled after what
happened to that little girl.... Harry liked robots, he really did,
but why anyone would trust a machine to raise their kids was beyond
Harry was so lost in thought that he was completely surprised
when he walked smack into something and bounced right off it to the
floor. He let out an "oomph!", landing square on his backside, and
stared up at his suddenly visible roadblock. It stood erect with
long, spindly legs and arms. It's shiny superstructure reflecting
his own image back at him. It titled its head at him, as if just as
curious as Harry, clutching what looked like a space age lunchbox to
"I've never seen a human so close up before...."
Harry blinked, his throat having dried up as he tried to
speak. "What... are you?"
Its body stiffened then, and it pointed its right hand at
him. "I'm sorry, but you can't tell anyone I was here." And with
that, a fine laserbeam shot forth from its palm and shot through
Harry's head point blank. He collapsed with a thud to the floor, the
smell of something burning unnoticed by his killer as it crouched
down by his still form to examine him. And when its auditory sensors
detected someone coming, it dragged Harry to the side, holding him
close to its body as it cloaked them once again before the passersby
could see them.
On to Part 2!
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