“I think I see the shuttle cruiser,” the hooded figure stated, huddled over a portable radar console, peering at a blip moving toward her and her companion.
“It’s about time he returned. He’s been gone for two months. Let’s get back to the camp and find out what he’s discovered.” She packed up the radar console and placed it in his toolbag. Checking the surrounding area visually for danger, they carefully made their way down through the rocky crags of the foothills and into a small wooded valley. Passing through the dark and dense forest growth, they finally arrived at their base camp.
As they approached a clearing in the center of the woods, the outline of a star cruiser became more and more apparent through the camoflage on the northern corner of the clearing. To the west were several rows of tents, occupied with the wounded.
“Halt! Who goes there?” shouted a guard posted on the outer perimeter of the camp.
“Halt! Who goes there?” repeated the guard, suspiciously lowering a javelin at Bill Torque and Mio from Rio.
“We will be landing in approximately two hours, Mr. Hack,” Mr. Robotto said to his passenger as he guided the shuttle cruiser through the maze of rock defining the cliffs of a deep canyon.
“I’m a might grateful to ya, Mr. Machine,” responded Mad Hack weakly as he rested in the contoured body chair. “I thought I was a goner. Tell me, where did you come from.”
“I am assuming that you wish me to tell you where I have come from recently, not where I was created.”
“No, tell me the whole story.”
“I successfully completed an entire set of diagnostics, which for an intelligent machine is equivalent to human birth, on June 22, 1985 at the Fedatcorp Robotics Plant in Milpitas, Calfornia. I was conceived by Dr. Balasubterranean Kubar, master computer scientist and amateur gourmet. I was programmed by Mr. H. Acker, who was known as ‘Harry’. My first task in life was domestic service and I was the first robot to successfully vacuum a rug and mow a lawn. I was the only one of my kind until ‘the Merge’…”
“‘The Merge’?” asked Hack sitting up with interest.
“It was a point in human history when all of the corporations in the free world were merged into one colossus: Gigacorp. It was then that the GK series was released, patterned after my design. It was at the Gigacorp complex that I became the laboratory assitant of Dr. Kubar. Dr. Kubar then got involved in Reagatron radiation experimentation which affected his personality to the point that my programming would not allow me to allow him to continue. I subjected Dr. Kubar to his own invention and was labeled a renegade machine. To this day I am a fugitive and corp-criminal.
“I was fortunate to meet two human beings who helped me to escape. We made our way to a space port where we signed on as the crew for a cargo starship.”
“Sounds like my kind of excitement,” Hack responded, “I love excitement.” He coughed and fell back in his seat.
“We were in route to the fourth planet of Barnard’s Star when we encountered a disturbance in the time-space continuum, that stranded us on an uncharted planet. As we were about to be destroyed by the malevolent Gigacorp Company Police, known as Compol, we were rescued by the Interstellar Merchant Marines and supplied with a new starship. As we again began our journey, we encountered Compol Destroyer Star Cruisers and were forced to…”
Mr. Robotto was interrupted by data coming from the cruiser’s external sensors.
“It appears we must do battle,” Robotto spoke calmly.
Mad Hack lept out of his seat, “BATTLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!!”