Saturday, October 3, 2009

22. Titanium


Killer Robots

"Damnit, Sean, comic book writers don't employ the Stanislavski method."

"I do," I said, and threw the mech into gear. The roof exploded as it straightened to full height. The walls collapsed as I strode forward.

Outside, people ran from their houses screaming. They looked like ants. It was great. I was getting a lot of insight into my character's motivation.

But when I said this to Joshua, he began waving his arms around. "Titanium doesn't have any motivation—he's just a giant killer robot! He's programmed to destroy!"

"Glad you reminded me," I said. I hit the "stomp" macro, and watched the mech do its thing. The good part was that it could flatten a house in six stomps. The bad part was that when it did, it looked like a third-grader having a hissy-fit. I was going to have to fix that in the rewrite.

"Look, maybe you should power this thing down," Joshua said. "The police are here."

"Bangin'." I began picking up cop cars and flinging them into the night. It was trickier than it sounded. I had to stoop down and keep the mech's back straight or else it would topple over. But when the cars hit, they burst into flames. It was way cool. "I've got a good feeling about this project. Titanium is gonna win awards!"

"I don't know why I even bother talking to you," Joshua said in a resigned tone.

"Because I've got the mad skills, that's why. Hey! Wanna see this baby take out a skyscraper?"

"Not really, no." Joshua was silent for a few minutes while I strode the mech across the Walt Whitman Bridge, toward Philadelphia. (Lots of good material there.) Then, abruptly, he said, "What's the name of that writer who used to work with you on Bot Killer?"

"Ben Davis. Talented guy, but a little lazy. He wasn't willing to do the kind of research it takes to write a first-rate comic." I toppled a water tower. "Why?"

Joshua pointed fearfully up into the sky. A monstrous flying transformer-type robot was roaring toward us. It loosed air-to-ground missiles. "Because I think he's just gotten a frazz more ambitious."

The bridge exploded at our feet, and the mech plunged deep into the Delaware. I seized the controls, and brought my offensive weaponry online.

This was going to be great!

© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.

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