Saturday, August 8, 2009


Ryan and Sawyer were hiking back to their cabin. They were deep inside the Fagaras Mountains in Romoskovia. Annie had taken the day to visit relatives and Ryan had no interest in joining her. Instead, he chose to take a hike with his pet. Ryan liked the outdoors adventures the country had to offer, but was not a fan of the city. If he wanted to walk around a town where he was surrounded by people who didn’t speak English, he’d just go to Houston. The two friends were about half way home when Sawyer noticed smoke rising from behind a hill to his left.

“Hey Ryan, look.” said Sawyer as he pointed towards the smoke. “We had better check that out.” Ryan agreed and the two made their way over to the hill. They were surprised when they found a pile of rocks surrounding a small smoke stack. Whoever put that smoke stack there was trying their best to keep it unnoticed.

“This is strange.” said Ryan “We had better get back to the cabin and notify the police.”

Ryan called the Romoskovian authorities as soon as they got back. Annie wasn’t home yet so Ryan had to make the call.

“Here goes nothing.” said Ryan as he dialed the number. “Hello? English? Anyone there speak English?” The officer on the other end of the line rang off a bunch of words that Ryan couldn’t understand. “Sawyer, how do you say ‘There’s a smoke stack in the mountains that I think you should check out.’?” asked Ryan as he covered the phone with his hand. Sawyer gave Ryan a dumbfounded look and shrugged his shoulders. Ryan hung up the phone.

“OK, we’ll just check it out ourselves. I’m sure it’s nothing.” said Ryan

There wasn’t much time left before dark, but they were sure they could make it to the smoke stack, investigate it, and get back to the cabin before the sun went down. When they made it to the smoke stack, they saw that it was no longer billowing smoke. Ryan took out his flashlight and shined it down the hole.

“Looks like it goes down quite a ways.” said Ryan as he and Sawyer stared down the hole.

"Well, other than being below ground, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this smoke stack. We might as well go.” said Sawyer

Just then, they heard the sound of a large metal door open and what they thought was marching. It was coming from the other side of the hill. They made their way to the top and watched as about a dozen robots made their way through the door and inside the hill. The door slammed behind the squad of robots as Ryan and Sawyer turned to look at each other in disbelief.

“Why do you and Annie keep taking vacations here?” asked Sawyer.

Suddenly, they heard steps approaching them from behind. They spun and looked up in horror as one of the robots stood over them and pointed its weapon at them.

“Stand and follow.” said the robot.

Ryan and Sawyer quickly obeyed their captor and followed as it led them inside the hill. Once the door closed behind them, they stepped into an elevator that seemed to take them down a long ways before finally stopping. The elevator stopped and the door opened. Ryan and Sawyer were shocked at the size of the room and the contents. There were thousands of these robots lined up side by side in the room. They were in squads of twelve, two rows of six robots. Some of the squads were dark green, others were tan, gray and a few were white. Each squad of robots had another slightly larger robot in front of them. Other than the slight size difference, they also had two stripes around their arms and legs. Almost as if they were a different rank. They stood motionless, resting… or waiting.

Their robot escort approached one of the larger robots. The larger robot activated once their escort was within a few feet away.

“Prisoners.” said the robot captor.

“Affirmative.” said the larger robot.

The smaller robot stood next to the others in his squad and deactivated himself.

“Follow me. You will meet the General and he will decide your fate.” said the larger robot. It seemed to have a higher vocabulary. Perhaps they were programmed to be more intelligent than the others. Ryan looked up as they walked and noticed a room with tinted windows. It overlooked the entire room and Ryan assumed that they would meet the general there.

They were led into another elevator which took them up a short distance. Once it opened, they stepped into the room with tinted windows. There, they saw a man in a strange uniform overlooking a map of Romoskovia.

“General, we have prisoners. They were outside the compound.” said the robot.

“Thank you, sergeant. Leave them here. That is all.” said the general without even looking up from the map. “Sit there.” said the general, pointing towards a chair in the middle of the room. “The dog stays on the floor.” Sawyer was insulted, but he kept his cool.

“I am General Evil.” said the general as he turned his attention to his prisoners.

“Why are we prisoners?” asked Ryan. “We are no threat to you and your… toys.”

The general laughed. “Of course you’re not. But you would no doubt tell the authorities and my campaign would lose the element of surprise.”

“What campaign?” asked Ryan.

General Evil sighed. “I am currently employed by a rival to this country. My job is to conquer it in their name. Once I do this, I will be paid and I will leave.”

“Who hired you?” demanded Ryan.

“I will not say.” said the general.

“What will happen to the civilians during your campaign.” asked Ryan.

“Many will die, no doubt. Too bad their government did not bid higher.” said the general with a laugh.

Ryan was outraged. He had to stop this maniac. Annie was out there and could get hurt if the war started when she was there. Ryan needed to know more about these robots. Maybe there was a weakness or a trick to defeating them. Ryan stood from his chair and looked out the tinted window.

“What are those?” asked Ryan, pointing at the robots.

“Those are my Annihilators, my massive robot army.” said General Evil. “It’s the perfect army, in fact. Those smaller robots are soldiers. They know only destruction and obedience. The larger of the robots are my sergeants. They only answer to me. I tell them what to do and they use the soldiers to get it done. No complaints, no objections, just results. The perfect army.”

“And the robots themselves?” asked Ryan.

“Each Annihilator, soldier and sergeant alike, has its own arsenal. Its right arm is a machinegun and it’s left arm a rocket launcher. Once it begins combat, spikes around their ankles latch into the ground, anchoring the robot and preventing it from being knocked over.” explained the general.

“They don’t seem to be invincible.” said Ryan

“They are not.” admitted General Evil. “But they do not require sleep and they do not eat. Basically, they fight without stopping until the battle is won.”

Sawyer tried to put his paws on a nearby chair so he could see out the window. General Evil kicked the chair out from under him and spat.

“Get your filthy paws off of my furniture, dog!” said Evil.

Ryan used the distraction to pounce on the general. Ryan wrapped his arms around Evil’s neck and lifted him up, trying to choke him out. The general elbowed Ryan in the ribs, causing him to lose his grip. The general turned to face Ryan and hit him with a right hook. Ryan fell to his knees as General Evil tried to kick him in the face. Ryan dodged it and stood back up. Ryan lunged for Evil’s uniform collar as the general grabbed hold of Ryan’s neck. Just then, a shot rang out beside them. Surprised, Ryan and Evil looked in the direction of the blast. Ryan smiled while Evil’s jaw dropped. There was Sawyer, standing on his hind legs, holding General Evil’s .45. General Evil let go of Ryan’s neck and slowly backed away.

“I think he wants you to sit.” said Ryan.

General Evil began to sit on a nearby chair. Sawyer growled and cocked the gun’s hammer back.

“On the floor…” said Ryan.

Sawyer grinned as General Evil sat on the floor.

“What is the meaning of this? How is this dog…” the general stuttered as Ryan hit him in the head, knocking him out.

“Good job, Sawyer.” said Ryan

“What a jerk.” said Sawyer. “Wouldn’t let me on the furniture.”

“Let’s figure out a way to stop this invasion, then get out of here.” said Ryan.

Ryan and Sawyer turned their focus to a computer by the window overlooking the Annihilators.

“Maybe we can reprogram them.” said Sawyer.

“Yeah, that would do it.” said Ryan as he began typing.

He opened a program that revealed a list of commands. Each command had a description of what would happen when the command was given. Ryan selected the ‘Begin Campaign’ option and changed the description. Then he selected the option to ‘Cease Fire’ and changed the description.

“That should just about do it.” said Ryan.

“OK, let’s get out of here!” said Sawyer.

The two made their way down the elevator and snuck past the inactive Annihilators. They made it to the main elevator and within a few minutes, were back outside. The sun was just coming up when Ryan and Sawyer could see their cabin in the distance.

Back underground, General Evil was waking up. He was furious to see that Ryan and Sawyer had escaped. He decided to start the invasion right away rather than risk being ratted out by his escapees. He sat in front of his computer and selected the option ‘Begin Campaign’. Suddenly, every Annihilator in the underground hideout deployed their combat spikes.

“Target’s acquired. Destroy.” said the sergeant Annihilators.

“Destroying.” said the soldiers.

All of the tan and white Annihilators turned on all the gray and green Annihilators and opened fire. The gray and green Annihilators defended themselves and the entire room erupted in fire and lead.

“No! Stop!” said General Evil.

He frantically searched for the ‘Cease Fire’ option and selected it. All at once, every Annihilator stopped shooting, turned towards General Evil, redeployed their combat spikes and waited for orders.

“Target acquired. Terminate.” said the sergeant Annihilators.

“Terminating.” said the soldiers.

“What the…” said General Evil.

The remaining Annihilators opened fire with every weapon they had. General Evil dove for cover. He crawled towards another computer and stood slightly amidst a shower of sparks and glass. This computer controlled the bases self destruct option. It was intended to be used when the campaign ended, but as far as he was concerned, it was over now. He started the 2 minute countdown and made a break for his escape pod. The Annihilators were still firing as General Evil was launched out of the mountain and flew to safety.

Ryan was telling Annie what had happened when they heard an explosion in the distance. The ground shook as a large plume of smoke rose in the direction of the underground base.

* * * * *

“Hey, they have a Starbucks here!” said Annie.

Ryan pulled over and let her go inside to get some coffee. They were finished with this trip and were on their way to the airport.

“That was really close today.” said Sawyer.

“Yeah, I didn’t think we had a chance.” said Ryan. “Luckily, the mountain seems to have collapsed on the Annihilators.”

“And General Evil?” asked Sawyer.

“I don’t know.” said Ryan. “I guess that’s a story for another time.”

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