The station went dark. The familiar buzz of the information ceased flowing around me. The computer screen where I was researching “Great Destruction” went black. I knew, logically, that this was not a good thing. I heard shuffling outside, voices.
“Is she here?”
“No, why are you scared of her? Her status said when had been delayed somewhere near Safe house 58. Nobody’s in here. Nobody that can’t be taken out back anyways.”
I hadn’t thought to check on Karen recently, she should have be close but that was apparently not the case, which was most likely good for me.
I heard the voices, slightly behind the wall. I could feel a stream of information from not too far outside the dwelling. If I focused on it, I could draw the message to myself.
“Power’s out. Prepare to move on LS.” Some short range communication technology. I gathered that this would be a coordinated attack. I did not like this. This was my access to your world, my only in point. If I wished to find anything useful yet, I needed this place. That, and a strange sense of connection made me wish to defend it. I had not an idea of what they would do, I decided I would not let them in. I would have to fight from the outside.
I stepped into your suns light, the streams had disappeared from the tower. Humans stood around the dwelling, most dressed in black.
“The hell is that thing?”
“It’s got t-tentacles for hands.”
We stood in stillness for a moment. One human stepped forward on my right with an RPG (popular weapons in your final war I learned) and launched a small missile. I reached and grabbed it, my metallic “tentacles” latched on and then tossed it into the air. It knocked me off balance and I felt its fire on my back. You humans and your fire.
I got up and he fired again, a foolish mistake. This time I flung the missile directly back at him. It still knocked me back a bit, though this time I was prepared. The light in my core held a steady blue. I felt pressure on my left, metallic bullets bouncing against my body. I was only dented, but I couldn’t afford to let this continue. I ran over, extending my reach to run a tentacle through one human, wrapping up one with my other hand to overload his systems with electricity. Once quite done, I turned and dismantled a human firing from behind me. A modified ship on wheels raced toward me. My core began flashing blue, then turned green. I transferred energy to one specific tentacle, raised it up, and brought it down on the ship, splitting it in half as it approached. The two halves sped around me, stopping somewhere off in the distance.
The humans who surrounded the building began to surround me, coming around the dwelling and pinning me to the wall. My core now flashed green. I laid my hands on the ground. There was not the same charge that ran through my sphere. Yours was much weaker, but it would do. More bullets were bouncing off of me, sparks flew with a few of them. Plenty went into the station. I hadn’t quite gathered enough energy, but I had limited options. Grounding myself, I let out a pulse that flung the humans back, and their weapons back farther. What would have only temporarily disabled my people struck you humans with great force. I looked at my core, it pulsed a gentle yellow. Our proper battle gear had equipment to hide our cores, that way our enemies would not know when were weak. Luckily, the humans were retreating. Whatever they wanted here was not worth their lives at the end of the world. I watched them go, alone once more.
by ROBERT COCANOUGHER / literature columnist