Jam

Part 1A

by Jill Weber (MFCarpet at aol.com)
8/16/01

Characters owned by Darkhorse and Sony. They are used without permission, but with no intent of making a profit. Think of it as free advertising.

Two pairs of machine guns chattered ineffectively. The follow-up missiles were no more successful. The glistening blob absorbed all the missiles and explosions with no outward sign of distress. "This is like shooting Jell-o," muttered the 15-footer formally designated the BGY-11 and familiarly known as "The Big Guy."

The Big Guy stepped back a few paces to survey the situation, then jerked to a halt. Rather, he was jerked to a halt when a tendril of slime wrapped itself around one of his legs. "Really aggressive Jell-o," he muttered.

Activating his forehead laser, Big Guy cut his leg free and retreat. His relief was short-lived, however. Another tendril shot out from the alley wall and became entangled in the machine guns that protruded from Big Guy’s right armpit.

"For the luvva Mike," grumbled the big robot.

From inside Big Guy’s cockpit, Lt. Dwayne Hunter studied the situation. If he tried to pull free, he would likely lose the right hand battery. Not that they’d been doing any good, but having them ripped out bodily would compromise his ‘bot’s right arm, if not just rip it out of its socket.

The angle was wrong for his forehead laser, and none of his other weapons had made any kind of impression in this thing. That left him only one recourse.

"Uh, Son? A little help here?" Hunter spoke into the pickup that would translate his voice into Big Guy’s stentorian tones.

"Coming, Big Guy!" Rusty’s enthusiastic reply arrived scant minutes before the boy robot.

Hunter shook his head and wondered at the twists his life had taken lately. He had resented being forced to take Rusty on as a partner. But somewhere along the way his "That toy? You’ve got to be kidding!" had turned into "Son, a little help here?"

"Big Guy, are you all right?" Rusty’s worried tones surprised a smile out of Hunter.

It was hard not to like the boy robot and Hunter had given up trying months ago.

"Yes, Sport, got a little jammed in here," Big Guy indicated his entangled machine guns with his free hand.

"Ooo, ick," Rusty said. The redheaded robot darted around Big Guy like hummingbird, being careful not to get ensnared himself. "If I try blasting you free, I’ll probably smoke your machine guns."

Big Guy sighed. "I have a feeling that they’re toast, anyway," he said. "Blast away, Son."

Big Guy’s tones were matter-of-fact, but inwardly, Hunter was wincing. Considering some of Rusty’s previous mishaps with his nucleo-protonic powers, it was all too easy to imagine the boy robot blasting a hole through Big Guy’s torso. (And Hunter.)

Rusty frowned as he studied the angles. Obviously, he was thinking along the same lines as Hunter. (Without the addendum of possibly vaporizing Hunter, of course. As far as the boy robot knew, 'Lt. Dwayne' was safely out of harm’s way.)

"Okay," Rusty said. "You lean away from the slime thing here and I’ll blast."

"Right," Big Guy replied. He moved as far from the building he was glued to as he could and leaned away.

"Okay," Rusty said again. He steadied his right hand with his left and fired his right forefinger like a heavy caliber bullet. The blazing green nucleo-protonic blast vaporized the slime that was holding Big Guy’s arm. It also vaporized the machine gun battery in that arm. Plus it sent Big Guy crashing to the ground in an undignified sprawl.

The recoil sent Rusty hurtling into the wall on the opposite side of the alley. Fortunately, the wall was free of gunk. However, the elderly building now had a decided list to it. "Oops," Rusty said sheepishly.

"Good job, Sport," Big Guy assured him hastily as he got up. The two robots beat a retreat down the alley with the glistening glob oozing after them.

Snarling, Hunter opened fire with his remaining guns, more as a rude gesture than an actual attempt to cause damage.

"My suit’s compromised," Hunter said into the audio pickup to his Pit Crew. "I’ve lost the right arm guns and the arm casing." He reached up and flipped off several switches. No sense in sending power to machine guns that were no longer there. "The floor is officially open for suggestions."

The leftmost of three video monitors above his main viewscreen came to life. "Maybe what you need is some peanut butter, Lieutenant," this was in Mack’s raspy tones. The lean, elderly mechanic looked innocently at his commanding officer. "Add a few slices of bread, and you’ll be a peanut butter and jelly hero sandwich."

Dwayne rolled his eyes and made a point of sighing. "Okay, the floor is open to USEFUL suggestions," he amended.

The center monitor flickered to life to show his second in command. "Maybe acid?" Garth suggested. The black man ran a hand over his sweaty bald pate.

"Acid?" rumbled Big Guy, looking around. The question was not directed specifically at Rusty, but the boy robot looked around also.

Both hit on the same idea at the same time. "The cars," boomed Big Guy.

"Hey, Big Guy, don’t car batteries have acid in them?" piped up Rusty.

The two ‘bots spread out and began to harvest batteries from abandoned cars.

"What shall we empty the acid into, Big Guy?" Rusty asked, keeping a wary eye on the approaching gunk. "A trash can?"

"Hm, too deep, I think," Big Guy muttered. "Try a lid, instead." They emptied the batteries into a galvanized lid.

"I’ll see if I can get your guns back," Rusty volunteered. He pointed to where the gunk was carrying the twin machine guns along the alley.

Big Guy nodded assent. "Be careful, Son," he admonished. Under his breath, Hunter added. "Slate’ll kill me if anything happens to you."

"I wouldn’t worry too much, Dwayne," Jo’s cheerful voice broke in from the background, then the blonde, freckled woman looked over Mack's shoulder. "I think she likes you."

Dwayne gave her an acidic look. "Does the phrase ‘drop and give me twenty’ hold any meaning for you?" he asked.

"Can’t do pushups right now, sir," Jo said briskly, but entirely unrepentantly. She disappeared from view, presumably to go back to her tracking panels. "It’ll have to wait until my hands are free."

"Don't get too sassy, or I’ll put you in charge of making coffee!" Dwayne warned, knowing that threat would carry more weight with his crew. Especially considering how badly Jo’s last batch of coffee had come out.

Before any of the Pit Crew could respond, Hunter said: "Enough chatter, keep your minds on business." He hesitated and added. "And your eyes on Rusty. See if Garth’s idea works."

Rusty was carefully pouring the collected battery acid over the blob that contained the machine guns. Then he flew back to Big Guy, shaking his head. "Nothing," he said glumly. "It didn’t even fizzle."

"Well, THAT idea fizzled," muttered Garth. "Anybody else have an idea?" He looked at Mack and amended. "A useful idea?"

"Well, in the movie The Blob, the Blob was stopped by extreme cold," Jo suggested.

The three men pondered that for a few moments. "I guess we could try dry ice," Mack said. "Unless Slate can get hold of something colder?"

"Good idea," Hunter said. "Is Slate online?"

"Just a second," Garth turned away from the screen and said something Hunter couldn't hear. To Dwayne he added, "Line three."

Dwayne toggled a switch next to the remaining overhead screen. The screen flickered into life and Erika Slate’s delicate features came into view. "Right here, Lieutenant," she said coolly. "How’s the battle going?"

"I’m oh-for-two so far," Hunter reported glumly. "My suit’s compromised and I’ve lost my right machine gun battery. And speaking of batteries, acid didn’t work on it, either." Then he explained Jo’s idea about using cold.

Slate pushed her glasses to a firmer seat on the bridge of her nose. "I think I could probably rig something up," she said. "It might not be necessary, however. Quark’s latest weapon may be just the edge you need."

"Oh, goody," muttered Hunter. "Who was in charge of this weapon’s testing? You?"

Slate shook her head. "General Thorton supervised these tests himself. He should be there any minute, now."

"Thorton’s coming with a new toy," Big Guy informed Rusty.

Rusty nodded and fired another shot at the blob. The green blast made a hole in the blob, but it soon closed.

After a few more minutes of futile, lack-of-anything-else-to-do-as- they-retreated machine gun and nucleo-proton blasting, they heard the rumble of a large, tracked vehicle.

The tank that appeared was standard issue, but the cannon muzzle that protruded in front of it was not. Thorton was standing in the turret, walkie-talkie in one hand, binoculars in the other. "You boys retreat out of the way," Thorton ordered the robots. "And we’ll see what Donovan’s new toy can do." The general grinned like a kid with a bag full of cherry bombs.

Rusty darted over the tank. Hunter sighed, then moved Big Guy to follow when suddenly he was yanked around like a puppet on a string. "You again?" he growled at the gunk that had grabbed his remaining gun battery.

Behind him, Hunter could hear Thorton reeling off coordinates to the gunner. "Son, see if you can get his arm free," Thorton said to Rusty. "Johnson, hold your fire until my...."

***** Blackness *****

On to Part 1B!

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