Ghost in the Machine

Part 3

by Mere (mbmincey at

Thanks for the compliments, guys. Here's more.

"Oh, no, you don't!" Rusty said, clenching his teeth in a bite that could bend steel. He was ninety-percent damaged and running on auxiliary power, but his arch nemesis had taken some heavy blows himself. Time to go for broke. The entire universe was at stake! Left, right, left again. Firing all he had as his enemy backed him up against a corner unmercifully -- and then, horror upon horrors, dealt the final deathblow, his victim's small body flying through the air and bouncing off the dungeon wall. He laughed his sinister, taunting laugh like he always did. That evil ranssum franssum Frog Commander had once again killed Rusty.

"DANG IT!" Rusty threw down his controller and placed his head in his hands, completely frustrated. "I'm still bulletproof, I'm still bulletproof, I'm still bulletproof...." He would never be able to beat the Frog Commander. Not ever. Not without a cheat code, but what was the point of winning if you cheated?

"Sheesh, don't be such a spaz. It's only a stupid videogame."

Rusty turned around to see Pierre come up the stairs into his room. That he was up here just grated on Rusty's nerves to no end. He was so tired of Pierre walking around, strutting his chubby stuff all over Quark like he owned the place.

"What do you want, Derriere?"

"Wow. Did you come up with that one all by yourself or did Big Doofus help you? He's so witty, after all."

Just once. Just once, he'd like to make Pierre eat that smirk of his. "Buddy, you are so lucky there's a Robot Rule Number One."

Pierre dismissed him with a wave of his hand. "Whatever. You too busy warping your emotion grid or do you want to go do something?"

Pierre wanted to do something? Do something with him? "Why?", Rusty asked warily.

Pierre shrugged. "I'm bored. Uncle Axel said he'd spend the day with me, but he's in a meeting right now. Some big hoohah with some investors."


Big Guy had said that Pierre probably didn't have it so easy because his mom was always ditching him with Dr. Donovan, but even Dr. Donovan didn't really have time for his nephew, running a big corporation and all.

"Poor kid doesn't really have anyone to look after him like you do. He'd get in a lot less trouble if he did, that's for sure."

"You mean I have to pretend I like him?!"

"I'm just saying you should be more understanding."

Easy for him to say! Big Guy didn't have to put up with jerks like Pierre. Still.... Rusty sighed, his struggle over doing what he wanted (telling Pierre to buzz off) and doing something he really, really didn't want to do (letting Pierre stay).

His conscience won. "I guess if you want to." Rusty then brightened. Might as well make lemonade. "You wanna play dominoes?"

Pierre folded his arms against his chest. "Pft. No."

"Um, watch TV?"

"Nothing's on."

"Hide and go seek?"

"What are we, four?"

"Hawk loogies on Dr. Don-- Um, on Dr. Pollack's car?"

"No, and oh, yeah... no."

Rusty shook his head at the older boy. "Cheese Louise, Pierre. Why do you even get up in the morning?"

"All your suggestions are childish."

"Well, you're the one who wanted to do something! You pick then!"

Pierre brought a finger to his chin, appearing to be in thought. Hopefully it wasn't about stealing or causing minor whadayacallems... 'apocalypses'.

"You know, I heard Dr. Slate was working with repulsor fields.... Think she'd mind letting us have a peek? With adult supervision, of course." He smiled a winning smile at Rusty, but Rusty wasn't fooled. All Pierre really wanted was to see Dr. Slate's invention and he needed his help to do it. It had nothing to do with wanting to do something with him.

"She's working right now," Rusty said, frowning disdainfully at him. "And even if she wasn't, she wouldn't let you within sneezing distance of anything. She's still mad at you for draining her brain."

"God, I said I was sorry. No wonder everyone says she's frigid."

Frigid!?! Wha... What did 'frigid' mean...? Well, whatever it meant, it was bad. Rusty hopped down from his bench and walked right up to Pierre, looking him straight in the eye with hands on his hips.

"Who's 'everyone'?"

Pierre smirked. "Everybody. 'Cause she is. She's a total Ice Queen."

Rusty's jaw dropped, completely shocked. "She is not!"

"Is too. You'd get a ice cream headache if you kissed her too fast."

Rusty glared at the other boy, his temper flaring up. "You take that back!"

Pierre lightly pushed Rusty, daring him to push back. Boy, was this guy stupid. *Genius my butt!*

"Make me," Pierre said simply, pushing just a bit harder, thoroughly enjoying working Rusty into a frenzy.

"I will make you!"

"I don't see you making me." Pierre pushed him again, Rusty clenching his hands into tight little fists. "You don't have it in ya, ya wuss. My Uncle Axel would throw you in the grinder if you even touched a beautiful hair on my darling head. He owns you and you know it."

*Counting to ten... One, two, three....* "I'm not afraid of Dr. Donovan. I'm not afraid of anybody! Especially you!"

*Four, five, six, seven....* "Only reason I'm not laying the smacketh down is 'cause you're a human."

*Eight, nine, ten. Hmm... Lieutenant Dwayne's right. That doesn't work.*

Thankfully (for Pierre, that is) the signal went off and Rusty gasped, Pierre temporarily forgotten. He stood tall with heroic purpose ready for a real battle. Making Pierre pay would have to wait. There were bigger fish to fry! Pierre had to go and ruin the moment, of course....

"The Big Guy Signal!" Pierre mocked.

*Big fat, fatty fat of a meanie!*

"I wasn't going to say that," Rusty said coolly.

"Were too."

"Were not."

"Were too."

Then Dr. Slate called from downstairs. "Rusty!" Why anyone wouldn't like Dr. Slate, Rusty couldn't guess. She was the nicest person ever.

He lifted his nose at Pierre, trying to be just as snooty as he was. *I'll take care of you later.*

"Excuse me, but I have to go save the world now." Rusty started his boot jets, lifting off the floor and about to fly downstairs. Before he left, though, he looked over his shoulder at Pierre. "And uh.... don't touch any of my stuff."


On to Part 4!

Back to part 2

Back to the fanfic index