You decide to head in the direction of the chugging noises.
Where there’s a machine there’s a weapon, right? you try to convince yourself.
There’s a big sign on the door from which the obnoxiously loud sounds are coming. It’s a depiction of a human inside a red circle with a big, red line going through it. Across the top, in bold, it reads: AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.
“Wouldn’t you know it, I just became authorized,” you tell the sign as you pull on the handle.
The door opens with a hiss, and smoky vapors leak into the hallway.
“Oh hell,” you say, quickly closing the door behind you. It’s dark and loud – so loud you think your head will split in two at any moment. Putting both hands over your ears, you try to keep it together.
“Aww,” you scream, frustrated. There’s no turning back now though. Malloy is surely only seconds behind you. Using both hands, you feel along the walls on either side of the door to search for a light switch.
“Bingo.” You flip it on. The room is large and lit with strange orange lights.
It sounds like a bunch of people are running. Even over the noise, you hear shouting. “Hurry. Go! Go! Go!”
A herd of elephants, you think, shaking your head.
Heading down the first aisle, you start looking for anything to use as a weapon. You need one. Fast!
Machines of all shapes and sizes are everywhere. You have no idea what any of them do. Being an accountant, the types of machines you use involve adding and subtracting, the occasional search of an online website or the press of a button
You run up and down aisle after aisle, searching between the machines. Above them. Underneath them.
You run down an aisle that has a lot of knobs and buttons against walls of computers on either side. Blues, greens and reds are lit up all over the consoles. You don‘t stop, even though you‘re starting to get a little light-headed. There is nothing here that‘ll be of use.
“Damn,” you think, turning left and left again, slamming into something. “What the –?”
Taking a step back so you can get your bearings, you realize you’ve run into some sort of robot. You’ve also noticed your head is heavy. The thing is typing away on a keyboard. It turns and looks at you. “No. Humans. Allowed. You. Are. Not. Authorized.” Its yellow eyes look at you and back at the computer screen. It’s still typing away.
“Hey R2, you wouldn’t happen to have a weapon I could borrow, would ya?” You can’t help letting out a giggle. What the crap?
The robot is about your height, maybe taller. It has a rectangle head and a round body. The neck, arms and legs look to be made out of metal pipes. The thing looks like something you could have built in junior high shop class. It also seems to be getting wider and thinner; taller and shorter. Suddenly there are fifty more of them just like it. You figure you must be hallucinating, but can’t seem to care.
Smacking it in the head, you say, “Hey Roboturd? A weapon—mind if I use your arm?” Wobbling, you reach out to grab it.
“You. Are. Unauthorized,” the robot says, facing you.
It grabs you under the arms and lifts you into the air. Feet dangling, you start laughing and stick your hands in the air. “Weeee,” you yell, unable to help yourself. Inside you‘re scared to death and wonder where it‘s taking you.
You hear a whoosh and some doors slide open. The robot drops you into a container with grates along the bottom. One of your legs falls through as well as some ashy looking substance.
The robot looks down at you, its yellow eyes glowing, and says, “As. My. Favorite. Group. The. Coasters. Like. To. Sing: Take Out. The. Papers. And. The. Trash.”
It waves and there’s a whoosh as a set of big metal doors closes above you.
You wave back and chuckle because you can’t help it. Whatever was or wasn’t in the air has affected your brain beyond your control. Even Malloy and his nasty junk seem kinda funny right now. You realize Malloy must have set off an alarm. Those who worked in the machine room left so that they could put something in the air to cause your hallucinations. You can’t help but wonder what or who picked you up and carried you over to the container. Maybe Malloy in a space suit? You’ll never know because an extreme heat starts to rise. You look down. Massive flames are seconds away from incinerating you.
Before screaming, you think, Yackety yak, don’t talk back.
Oops...RETURN TO CHAPTER 2