Twenty-Five Days Of Christmas: A Christmas Tale, Chapter Three

Robo-officers. I hadn’t seen these since my military days. Those days, they were used as MPs. Ruthless, they were less than desirable as the ones you wanted to escort you to the brig. With the human MPs, you would definitely make it to the brig alive but with the Robo-officers, you might and then you might not. They had no program t enforce the concept of differing degrees of disobedience.

To these hunks of talking metal, not walking fast enough was resisting arrest. I watched the senseless death of more than a few of my buddies at the hands of these hellish machines. I had made my mind up then that I would see to it that they were destroyed. That kind of violence was not needed. Not then, not now.

But then, the military had been their testing ground. Lives did not matter. Just results. And the makers, basically the robotics industry backed by the judiciary branch of government, only watched the results.

In their eyes, the drop of infractions showed effectiveness. Never mind that whole platoons were destroyed for no reason at all, the data never lied in their eyes. And those of us who had seen the truth were forced to remain silent. Not anymore.

As we stood there fighting these hunks of junk, I suddenly remembered. I motioned to my CO. He dropped back. “What is it, Private?”

I pointed to the scaled armor on the robot’s belly. “Shoot there, but aim for the joints. I experienced these things when I went to war on my tour. They seem impervious, but that is the chink in their armor.”

He nodded. “Sounds like you have taken out a few of these.”

I grimaced. “I had to, sir. They were notorious for killing for no reason. Why do you think they are used here?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Thanks. I will make sure the others know. Will ion grenades work?”

I smiled. “I believe so, but I never tried that. I was a new recruit and was trying to save a friend’s life. I didn’t think of the ion grenade. Wasn’t an option at that time.”

He saluted. “I see.” I watched him crawl back to the front. “shoot for the joints in the belly of the beast! that’s their weakest point! Anyone with an ion grenade, throw it into the center of their forces!”

If it didn’t disintegrate them, it would definitely destroy their circuitry. I watched as someone up front lobbed an ion grenade well behind the front Robo-officer. Our guns weren’t doing anything, so it was the last attempt to stop the enemy before it became an onslaught. We all covered our heads.

What happened next was completely unexpected. The grenade made it signature sound, but it wasn’t followed by the shrak or any other sounds of disintegration. Instead, the room was rocked by a huge electromagnetic explosion. Looking up, I saw that all the robots had been reduced to a pile of crushed metal. Almost as if they had suddenly been picked up and put into a crusher. The major damage was more to the immediately surrounding room.

We all raised our heads and focused on our commander. He raised up on his knees and began signaling. A small group got to their feet and began recon. They returned shortly after disappearing and gave the all-clear.

The CO looked at me. “Why wasn’t your tactic working?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know. Maybe they fixed the weakness. But there used to be a small exhaust port on the front…wait. Were our shots even hitting them?”

He shook his head. “No, why?”

I looked over at him. “That electromagnetic explosion has me thinking. An ion grenade should not do that. It should have simply disintegrated the hunks of junk. Only thing that could have caused an explosion like that was a shielding unit.”

He looked at me in shock. “I’ll be damned! Is there nothing you haven’t seen or experienced?”

I smiled sadly. “It was a shielding unit that took half of my body when it exploded. At that time, they were still experimental and were being tried as a way to cut down on our casualties. The only things that destroy them are ion grenades or plasma guns. Both will cause them to explode in a burst of electromagnetic energy…and rip anything near them apart, or crush anything metal.”

“Oh, hell!” He breathed. “Don’t tell me we’re going to be working against that kind of crap now!”

I shook my head. “I doubt it. They are rather expensive. No one can afford more than one.”

He looked over at me, skeptical. “Not even the government?”

I chuckled. “Not even the government.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. “Good.”

We wove our way through the courthouse. We were thankful that the Robo-officers were only in the first room. Gen-alt officers, and cyborgs alike, laid down their arms as did the human officers. Slowly, we made our way through each room.

I only hoped the teams taking out the police stations and legal corporations were having better luck. Perhaps they hadn’t had to contend with the shield generators or the Robo-officers. I could only imagine if they did. That is, if they hadn’t thrown an ion grenade.

Our demolitions, as usual, were following right behind planting the plasma imploders. I kind of missed to good old days when plastics were still used for the explosions. But we couldn’t use the old fashioned noise makers. It would alert those next in line for attacks. I watched from my vantage point as timers were set. the gen-alts, mech-techs, and the cyborgs hustled the people found in holding pens down the tunnels.

We were given the all clear from our extraction teams and began evac. Our forward scouts went ahead and checked the upper levels to make sure it was not a diversionary tactic, then returned. They nodded to the CO, and we hauled ass out of the courthouse. Our mission was complete, our extraction teams had been successful. We now had control of the law.