Written by: Erin Weinstock
Novelization by: Anthony B.
I don't hold any of the copyrights in this story, and this story was made without profit.
Buck and Fox were right outside Hawk's Living Quarters, within Corridor S-11, while the normal amount of activity took place in the hallways. Both men looked concerned, and Buck had a black eye.
"I didn't kill any of them!" Buck yelled through the door. "I didn't even know of your existence till crashing on Throm."
"Five hundred years ago, Hawk," Fox added. "He's not a barbarian!"
Buck continued. "All of us were just as civilized back then as we are now.
"According to Doctor Goodfellow with what was left behind on Earth and the records your people have kept, your people left three thousand years before the rise of Rome!" Fox stated.
"Leave me alone!" Hawk's voice shouted through the door.
"Not until you admit you've made a mistake!" Buck cried defiantly.
"You're a murderer!" Hawk declared.
"He won't listen to reason, will he?" Buck asked his friend Fox.
"You know him better than I know him," Fox answered. "Maybe Goodfellow or Wilma?"
"Move away from there unless you want a black eye too, Fox!" Hawk yelled.
Both Buck and Fox moved a couple feet from the door. "This isn’t going well," Fox observed. "I don't think at this point-."
"What is it?" Buck asked.
"We could have Taindair talk some sense into him, right? Because he's not Human."
"Taindair left for New Phoenix this morning. He's not going to be back here for a week," Buck said. As he finished, Hawk stormed through the door, pushing Buck and Fox aside with brute force. "Now where do you suppose-?"
"At a guess, I'd say Easter Island." Dr. Goodfellow said.
Inside the Testing Lab One, Goodfellow and Mallory were busy working on the framework and internals of a robot that Buck Rogers has never seen before. As Goodfellow worked on connecting wires into a circuit board, Mallory held a thick plastic looking, glowing at its tip tool, while looking at specks on a large sheet of paper Goodfellow has drawn for him. Buck and Fox were near a wall, and out of the way of the two men's work.
"What could be of importance to Hawk there?" Buck asked. "He hasn't been living here very long. As far as I know, the only place he's been outside of the Defense Directorate is a ski lodge in Canada."
"You don't talk to him much, do you Buck?" Mallory asked as he pointed a finger to a technical drawing on the paper. "I'm not sure that path will work as a good conduit for motor control over the hind right wheel."
Goodfellow moved over to what Mallory was looking at. "The current will travel, trust me."
"One of you, please?" Buck tried to get their attention.
Goodfellow resumed work on the robot as Mallory responded. "That's where his people are from, Buck. I'm a little surprised you didn't know that."
"Hawk isn't the easiest of people to talk to," Buck responded. "That's why we came here to see Doctor Goodfellow. Doctor?"
Mallory turned his attention to Goodfellow, who took no notice of the eyes on him as he worked away.
"What are you two working on?" Fox asked.
Mallory responded. "The prototype for a new series of ambuquad. Doctor?"
"To reconnect with his kind; Hawk is a very sentimental bird," Goodfellow spoke in haste.
"I have to make him understand. I don't want him to return to Throm some day and tell his friends that savages led him here," Buck complained.
"To serve what purpose?" Fox said, referring back to the ambuquads. "Don't we have enough series already out there?"
"An upgraded model on the Crichton series. It's too unpredictable in its behavior, the Crichton," Goodfellow explained, pausing for a moment. "Wish I'd know about that flaw before leaving the Altaira Galaxy."
"I should really know more about Hawk's people, the same way he needs to learn about us, shouldn't I?" Buck asked.
However, no one appeared to have listened to him as he looked at them for an answer. Goodfellow and Mallory had their attention fixed on their project; Fox's attention was fixed on them. With a look of disbelief at the other's inaction towards, him, Buck raised his eyes upward, and in a low voice, sighed "Bother."
"An upgrade on the Crichton series, I wonder what would be the best name for it?" Fox mused.
Buck had enough of this, and headed for the door. "You could call it Ralph for all I care. I think Twiki is fine just the way he is. I'm off to Easter Island.
Near the shore of Easter Island, the sky looks cloudy, as though it looks like rain could happen any minute. Being around late afternoon in light didn't make it look friendlier. A Defense Directorate shuttle of standard size was on the beach, and other features of the island were the tall grasses waving wildly in the wind and a cliff that looks out on a beach at what could be a fifteen foot drop. The Pacific Ocean was looking nearly as pushed by the wind as the grass.
Hawk, on the island, was looking outwards at something. He looked very concerned, with just a touch of anger. He was looking at one of the famous stone Easter Island heads. After watching this for a while, he left the scene, heading inwards into the island. He walked while exploring the island, trying to find any signs that his people once lived there. Finally, he came upon a stone broken shell of an object that couldn't be identified. He picked it up to study it with both hands, due to his size. He began to look over it.
"Something your people made?" Buck's voice asked behind Hawk.
Hawk's eyes narrowed as he held the stone tighter. Hawk turned around to see Buck walking up towards him in non-work attire, the black eye completely gone now.
"What are you doing here?" Hawk demanded.
"I'm gonna fix things with you," Buck answered. "We're not savages, Hawk."
"The Tangata manu aren't savages. Humans are; you don't belong here!" Hawk replied.
Buck neared closer to Hawk, almost standing beside him. "None of us are savages, Hawk." Buck spread out his arms towards the land around him. "There's enough room here for the both of us."
"Then leave me alone," Hawk ordered.
"Can't do, not until you hear me out," Buck said. Hawk gently sat down the stone object on the ground, and walked away from Buck. "Hawk."
"I trusted you," Hawk declared. "I trusted you with my life."
"Have you read any history files at all since coming to Earth?" Buck asked.
"That isn't a necessary part of my job here," Hawk said. However, his speech slowed down towards the end of his sentence, as something caught his attention and slowed down his movement as well. Buck began to look at the area that Hawk was looking at. Something came closer to view as it moved up a ridge in what was a smooth, walking motion. Too smooth to be made by an animal or person. Unpolished, worn steel curved downwards is all that could now be seen of the thing in motion.
Buck was now somewhere over ten feet behind Hawk. "What?" Buck asked.
The object now started coming in to better view as it moved smoothly forward. At this point, its full head came into view. It's a robot: the unpolished, worn steel covered the whole head. Two large, black glass eyes were forward faced. Between the eyes, nearly giving it an Own look, its beak formed out. A half circle bump just after the led in lines out to a well-formed, near-flat Robin-like beak a foot or a little less in length.
It began to come up, moving in view. The neck on its back and sides are covered by the unpolished worn steel as the head. In a pattern, long and thin slices of the metal scallops back and forth with thin, small fish scale looking scallops. The rest of the body, with some exceptions to be noted, was made out of an antique-looking black metal, showing its age as much as the steel. In the underarms that came out from the armpit where Buck and Hawk couldn't see yet, blades of the worn, unpolished steel, overlap as thin objects that look like feathers with no lines. When the arm or wing was raised outwards, these steel feathers unfolded near bony long fingers at the end of "arm or wring". These, too, are made with the same unpolished shell. After the hands, folded into full concealment, were very long blades, unlined feathers, nine of them, that when spread out formed most of the wing in bulk, like a fan spreading out into full form. The legs were nearly crooked like a person's, and the feet had three toes: two flat ones to either of a giant one that held the weight of the bot, while the other two helped with balance. The feet were the unpolished steel. Coming off the back, behind the legs, was a split tail of two sets of blade feathers hiding how many there were like the wing blade feathers; these tail blades were still using the same metal as the wing blades, and unfolded for use in flight.
"You mean you don't know that it is?" Hawk asked Buck after the avian robot came into full view.
"Why would I know that it is?" Buck asked. "It looks like some kind of massive metal bird. This is where your people came from, Hawk."
"I've never heard tales of such a-." Hawk paused, looking at the robot.
The robot began to crouch slightly, before it sprang into the air, at about a mile high in the sky. It then began to slow down. In a snap, both arms shot out straight to either side, and internal locking could be heard faintly as each shoulder of the robot clicked into a position that allowed for flapping wing movement. One arm, or wing, had its long feather blades unfolded in towards the body, really giving this robot a more avian look. The other arm/wing at the same time tried to do the same act, but couldn't. Motors and clicks sound wildly from the unfolded blades at their hinges to the arm as they tried to move. The blades that were stuck together shivered back and forth, as the tail unfolded its blades.
Hawk and Buck watched this action being created by the robot, when suddenly it started diving back towards Earth. Hawk, noticing where the avian robot was headed for, began to run. Beak first, the robot crashed into the ground, releasing steam, with a hissing sound coming from its cracked and broken covering where broken. Hawk walked over to the broken robot with wonder on his face, while Buck jogged to catch up close to Hawk.
"Its look is reminiscent of my ancestors," Hawk observed.
Buck now looked at the wreckage. "Then why would it attack you?"
Hawk noticed how close Buck was to him, and glaring, moved a foot from him. "That cannot be assumed. Something failed in its motors."
"It looked like it was aiming for you, Hawk," Buck said.
Unbeknownst to Buck and Hawk, another working avian robot was high in the air, and began to rush towards Buck and Hawk at a nearly full vertical angle.
"I don't want you dead, Hawk," Buck said. The avian robot only looked to be about a few yards form them now, as Buck noticed it. He then pushed down Hawk as he moved himself down. "Duck!"
The avian robot's dive on them was missed, thanks to the actions by Buck, and it swoops past them. Buck and Hawk now stare off into the distance as it ascends higher into the sky once more. "I told you," Buck chastised Hawk.
"The chances are also equal it was after you," retorted.
The avian robot began to make a long turn in the sky, and it was now heading back for the two men. "Well, since it’s heading back towards us, maybe we can ask it which one of us it really wants to kill," Buck replied.
"It's not slowing down!" Hawk observed.
With the avian robot only twenty or thirty fee away, both men started running for their lives. Buck watched the avian robot as feel down in the tall grass. However, the look on Buck's face as this occurs was not one of shock. He grasped a blaster that he kept secretly holstered until now. Holding gun ready, he lifted himself up a little and moves aside some grass. He then watched Hawk running from the avian robot, ducking close attacks.
"Hawk, fall down, just fall down!" Buck commanded, yelling across the field.
However, Hawk wasn't listening to what Buck had just told him. Buck then turned over on his belly and tried to aim the gun at the robot. The avian robot started to make another dive for Hawk, when blaster fire from Buck nearly hit one of its long feather wing blades. Hawk tried to find the source of the blast, and ended up seeing Buck.
"You brought a weapon!" Hawk asked.
Buck spoke from behind tall grass that concealed his presence. "It makes me feel safe."
"Typical Human," Hawk complained.
The avian robot, head long, was moving towards Hawk again.
"Get down, it's coming!" Buck ordered.
Hawk crossed his arms and stared towards Buck's direction. Buck half way stood up. "You have got to be one of the most stubborn men I've ever met! It's right behind you!"
Hawk looked at the coming robot, and what is at first a fast walk soon turned into a run towards Buck. Buck fired again, and missed only by a hair. Now, Buck joined Hawk in running again. As the two men ran, they exchanged words, while the robot was hot on their trail."
"Shelters!" Buck asked. "Are there any shelters we can duck into?"
"I don't know, I don't know this island, Rogers. It was never my home. Why don't you know?" Hawk reprised.
"I may have been born on this planet, but I don't know it by heart, especially now!" Buck answered.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Hawk asked.
"Tell you what?!" Buck asked.
"That you were born when-." Hawk began, but was interrupted.
"Hawk," Buck cut in, "Get your history straight, please. Don't you think I would have reacted differently to meeting you at first if I'd known of you?!"
"I think-," Hawk began, but was cut off in his sentence as he and Buck, who have been paying more attention to the robot chasing them than where they were going, fell over a cliff that has the beach some distance below it.
Buck and Hawk began to pick themselves up from the ground where medium-sized rocks, some sharp looking, meet the sand of the beach; the two men weren't on the sand. Behind them is the entranceway to what looks at first to be a cave almost hidden from sight due to fallen rocks, dirt, and plants. Buck looked up to the sky, rubbing himself from where he struck the group. The avian robot flew over their heads, and Hawk watched it head out over the ocean.
"It will be back for us again soon," Hawk predicted.
Buck turned to look where Hawk was looking. "So much for it 'cannot be assumed'."
Hawk turned to look back at Buck and noticed the supposed cave. "We can take shelter in there till we know it's called off its attack for good."
"In where?" Buck asked, oblivious to the cave. "I saw nothing but grass and rocks back there, not a tree in-." Buck then turned to look behind himself. "That will work."
Hawk moved towards the supposed cave entrance. "It will take effort from both of us to dig out a path in."
"Nice to know we're friends again," Buck said.
"We aren't anything," Hawk said firmly.
"But you want my butt saved too," Buck pointed out.
Both men started lifting and throwing away rocks from the entrance.
"I think this is the only way we can avoid another attack," Hawk explained.
"You want both our butts saved from the robo-bird," Buck persisted.
"I want a safe shelter," Hawk said defensively.
"Admit it, you care for my life too," Buck said, refusing to back down.
Instead of continuing to argue, Hawk took a good look in to the entrance. "This must have served a purpose at some time."
Inside, Hawk could see a cement tunnel that looked like a wide launch tube with non-lit lights running across the floor and ceiling of it.
Back when the Tangata Manu inhabited Easter Island, the area was called Last Stand Shelter, and the area that Hawk and Buck were at was Level 1. A silver space ship shaped like a hawk zipped down a launch tube; only this one had lights on for guidelines.
Watching the ship was a middle-aged Tangata manu with black feathers coming in some areas to replace white ones. However, this Tangata manu didn't look like the modern breed. Instead, it looked more like the avian robots, only in flesh and with smaller, more normal looking eyes; around them was wrinkled skin without feathers; its beak was somewhat shorter too. Another Tangata manu walked behind it, out of the view to the Tangata manu. While tile lines the walls and machines hung off the ceiling far up and clung to the walls also. The floor was cement, and if one where to look down from one level of this room to the next, the design of buildings are almost identical to those on Throm, Hawk's home planet. On lower levels, more of the large silver hawk ships could be seen at ready for launch. Other Tangata manu were busy working at tasks that looked important.
"You should really be heading to a ship right now, you know?" the walking Tangata manu said to the one standing and watching the ship.
"Not until I'm done here," the middle-aged Tangata manu, or Batoll, replied.
Batoll then started walking in the opposite direction of the one who just passed him. Stopping at a ledge without a guard rail, he looked down a level of this place. He cocked his head like a bird of prey, making visual judgments of what he's looking at and then... He jumped over the edge outwards. He unfolded his long wing feathers. Through flapping, the wings controlled his descent to a lower level: Level 11 from the level that he jumped off of. The lower floor had only a few of his kind moving about on it. These ones were busy hauling around equipment; this equipment was what made up the avian robots. Batoll landed just a foot into the described level.
"At your age, you shouldn't be doing that, you know," Batoll's friend Kocop chastised.
"I don't care," Batoll replied. "I needed to get down here fast."
"If you'd take the stairs-," Kocop began.
Batoll was the one to interrupt his friend. "I didn't break a wing this time. I'm fine, Kocop."
"We're almost done programming in the first set, now," Kocop reported.
Batoll walked in further. "That's the rush. I think we might be making a mistake with this."
"We're making them to protect our way of life," Kocop argued. "How can you call that a mistake?"
As Batoll and Kocop walk towards a room away from the ledge of this level, Batoll said, "What if, when we return here, we're not the same. They don't know it's us?"
"I'm not with you," Kocop said, confused. "How would they be a mistake?"
In the next room of where Kocop and Batoll were, avian robots were being assembled.
"What if we can't fly?" Batoll asked. "Ever since the reason we're leaving the Humans we've cut down on flying, we take stairs to move from place to place most of the time. Now when we're in our homes and places of gathering... They might not know we're not their enemy."
"We'll teach with each generation if needed how to reprogram them," Kocop assured him. Batoll shook his head, showing that he was still worried. This caused Kocop to put a hand on one of Batoll's shoulders. "The others and I will be leaving shortly, our work is nearly done, the drones will protect what's here from the Humans. Get on the next flight, Batoll."
Batoll looked to one of the avian robots that had just been completely assembled. "Pray our descendants make it back here, Kocop. I don't want my further teachings to mean nothing to them."
Back in the present, the same room that Batoll and Kocop once stood in now looked much more aged. The same robot positioned in this room was also showing its age, just as much as the other avian robots seen outside this complex. However, the robot puts down arms that have been positioned across its chest and turned its head away from the direction it was facing.
Back at Level 1 of the Last Stand Shelter, Buck and Hawk were walking out of the darkened launch tube and into the dimly lit shelter that dust, dirt, and cobwebs proved no one has set foot in there for a really long time.
"This is amazing," said Hawk, who was in the lead between the two men.
"The lights are still one," Buck said as he moved out of the tube. "Man, what a power source."
Hawk looked around at everything in awe and wonder, touching everything he found. Buck was following a few feet behind him.
"I would have never dreamed it would be so all intact after all this time," Hawk said.
"But what purpose did it serve?" Hawk asked.
"I can only imagine a haven of some sort," Hawk answered.
"From what?" Buck asked, which caused Hawk to glare at Buck. "Please."
"It will take time," Hawk began. He then stopped, having a hard time saying what he wanted to say next. "I should listen to your words. I should have listened before."
"Thank you," Buck said. Buck then put out a hand to Hawk for him to shake. "Nice Human, glad to meet you."
Hawk shook Buck's hand. After that, metal creaking could be heard far off somewhere, and both men moved their heads around to find the source. "What was that?" Buck asked.
"With our metal friend outside, I have no idea," Hawk said.
Buck moved around the edge of the level, looking down and holding guard rails whenever present. After that, he moved inwards to get a better look at the rooms that branch off the main floor of the level. Buck moved back to the ledge that let him look down towards the lower level. Buck saw a broken stairwell that anyone would be insane to use.
"Well, Buck began.”Whatever made that noise can't get to us, nothing up here but we and whatever is down there can't reach us."
"Someone could be rapped down there," Hawk thought.
"I don't think so, Hawk," Buck replied. "I think we might be the first men to set foot in this place in centuries."
Hawk suddenly looked as though he knew that something was amiss. Oblivious to this, Buck walked towards Hawk. "Our metal friend might have friends of its own," Buck suggested.
"We stay in here, we take our chances being attack by those avian robots, robot, since we don't know how many are here," Hawk thought. "We return to being outside at this moment, we risk being attacked by the one we know to be out there."
"Then I think the choice is clear what we do next," Buck said. They began to head towards the launch tube, when Buck swung his blaster lightly in his hand. "You don't mind if I make use of this now, do you?"
"Only if it's truly needed, I'll understand," Hawk said.
They both entered the launch tube. "You'll be glad I have this if it's needed," Buck said.
At the start of the launch tube leading to the beach outside, the avian robot that was after Buck and Hawk earlier was trying to get in. As it clawed at the rocks with its hands and feet to get in, rocks and dirt from above the entrance were falling on top of it. As it struggled to get into the launch tube, it made loud noises that sounded like a seagull with an electronic voice.
Buck and Hawk were now nearing the half trapped avian robot. "It's going to cave in the entrance if it continues to struggle," Hawk observed.
"And if I shoot at it to keep it from getting to us, that might do the same," Buck said.
The avian robot finally, with great effort, made it into the launch tube, having rocks and dirt cave in behind it. In a snap, it started towards Buck and Hawk, hands in front of it, ready to stab them with the points on its bony looking metal fingers. Buck fired and hit it square in the chest, the effect of which knocks it backwards on the floor. The avian robot made a loud screech, and suddenly from behind Buck and Hawk, another screech like the one just sounded comes from off in the darkness.
Another screech sounded out of the darkness, which caused Buck and Hawk to look off towards where it came from. The fallen avian robot gave out another high pitched screech in sounding back. Both men then turned to the fallen avian robot.
"This isn't a good place to be," Hawk said.
"And there are no other choices," Buck reminded him.
The avian robot from Level 11 came from out of the darkness. The men turned to look at it. In a snap, it lunged for the men, pointing the long blade wing feathers out towards them and looking ready to slash them. Buck and Hawk avoided the attack by dodging it to both sides of the robot, both men narrowly missing the blades from the wings, from the ones aimed at them and the ones off to the side of the other wing now aimed, but not making movement easy for getting around the robot. The attacking robot crashed into the fallen on.
The fallen avian robot tried to break away from the point down it had received from the robot from Level 11. But quickly, the robot from Level 11 got itself up, and broke apart one of the legs of the fallen robot. This made the robot with the broken legs give a death cry showing it's powering down.
Buck and Hawk began to run down the launch tube, towards its exit. At the front of the tube were two more avian robots. The men stopped running, and the robots look at them both as they, at the entrance, started moving towards the men in attack. The closer of the two robots to Buck and Hawk fell down on them in pieces as it's blown apart by a shot of Buck's blaster. Buck and Hawk are now underneath the wreckage as the working robot from the attack just moments ago started moving aside the parts that surrounded him.
Both men slide on their backs as fast as they can, away from the robot moving aside the wreckage. They made it out of the launch tube just as the working robot of the two slammed down long feather wing blades at its entrance. The working avian robot Buck and Hawk just avoided in attack lunged at them from out of the tube, and fell over the ledge of the level, down to the lower levels.
"Two for us," Buck said, smiling.
They turned to look at the entrance at the launch tube as the robot from Level 11 came out of it and looked at them.
"It's OK to shoot," Hawk said in a very calm voice. Buck then shot, and the robot chanced the fire on its wing blades from both arms. "No!"
"I'm sick of running," Buck complained.
At the bottom level of the shelter, the robot that fell over the ledge starts turning and twisting like a cat in the air to land on its feet at the bottom of its descent. The robot then looked up and judged the next movement it was about to make, which was a leap, like the one witnessed outside the shelter made by the first of the avian robots Buck and Hawk encountered.
Back at the first level of the shelter, Hawk is in front of Buck as the two men slowly backed up towards a door leading to a room off to the interior of the level; the robot from Level 11 moved towards them.
"You were built by my ancestors, right?" Hawk asked the robot. "My ancestors were like you, you look to be Tangata manu. I'm Tangata manu!" The robot from Level 11 gave a clear look to Buck, before turning back to Hawk. "It's clear you understood what I just told you. True, he's not one of us, but-."
The robot from Level 11 took a swing, starting with the sharp bony metal fingers, which was aimed for both men's heads. The men shot back, away from the blow intended for them. The robot from the start of the launch tube (the one that fell over the ledge) shot back up to the first level, spreading its wing blades before grabbing hold of the guard rail in a fall. The floor began to give in over it, the age of this place showing itself. The Level 11 robot grabbed the hand of the robot ready to fall again, and Buck and Hawk went into the room they've backed up to.
Both men were close to the entrance of the side room, as Buck quickly closed the door.
"This isn't going very well," Buck noted.
"This day just keeps getting grimmer and grimmer. First by your coming, and then by their coming," Hawk said, which earned him a look from Buck. "But you being here has helped the day, I'll admit that."
Buck gave a little smile, and then looked beyond Hawk to elsewhere in the room. He was looking at plastic boards that could be seen lying on the floor, covered in drawings of outer space in white and blue, with sets of numbers of that. He also saw broken wooden tables, nearly eaten out of existence by termites. Straps of metal all about, some could be easily told once belonged to the avian robots by shapes, though others were unknown as to their purpose.
Hawk picked up one of the plastic boards, and after a moment of studying it, he said "The Altaira Galaxy but different; Rogers, this is a star map of long ago."
Buck picked up another one of the plastic boards, and replied after studying the one he was holding, "Take at look at this."
Buck overlay his plastic board over Hawk's. Both boards showed the same stars and planets, but each board has different sets of numbers, that when the two boards combined, showed mathematical equations matching into each other to show a fuller picture.
Buck pointed to one of the equations. "Where the planets and stars would be heading, have headed over time, over the centuries." Buck then looked to Hawk. "These were made in case they ever came back and wanted to return."
Hawk took hold of the board Buck had been holding, and glared down at it. "Something very wrong has happened, in that case."
Buck and Hawk got startled a bit as a loud thump was heard, slamming into the door of the room from the other side. Hawk moved towards the door.
"This wasn't meant to happen," Hawk continued. "They weren't meant to attack how they are."
"How do you know that?" Buck mused.
"I understand my people, even if over a thousand generations removed. They built these robots to protect this place from Humans."
"But you're not-," Buck began, but turned his head to a side as it hit him what has happened. Buck put a hand on one of Hawk's shoulders. "I'm sorry."
Another loud thump hit the door with greater force than the last one.
"We need to get out of here," Hawk advised.
Buck, just for the hell of it, took a quick look around. "Unless you can see a door I can't, that's a bit of an issue."
"It's too enclosed a place in here, much less than the launch," Hawk realized. "We won't last long once they break in."
Buck walked over to a large piece of strap metal and picked it up. "Maybe not."
Hawk turned to Buck, noticing Buck is holding the metal across his chest like a shield. "That won't do much good; it doesn't cover you in whole."
Buck looked down in thought, then after a pause, he turned towards one of the larger messes of metal parts gathered in the room. His head turned from the lower part of one of the avian robot's legs, to the head of an avian robot minus its beak, to a mid-section of the same robot type, to the lower part of one of their arms, complete with hands.
Another loud thump hit the door. Buck put down the shield of metal he's been holding, and moved over to the lower part of the avian robot with hand. Buck then started to gently pull out wires held loosely inside it.
"Rogers?" Hawk asked, confused.
Buck smiled, and removed the wires out completely from the robot arm. Then Buck peered inside the gutted arm and his smile widened.
"Rogers, if you've thought of something that might help us in the state we're in, I'd greatly like to know it."
"Buck please, I'd prefer it if you'd call me by that. I think I have an idea, but first-," he said, pausing to look at Hawk. "Do you even have a last name?"
"No, it serves no purpose," Hawk answered.
"Shame," Buck replied.
Another loud thump hit the door, and a little cracking could be heard. "Your idea," Hawk began, "do you think it will stand a chance? We'll be needing it soon if you think it does?"
Another loud thump and greater cracking could be heard coming from the door. Buck handed his blaster to Hawk. "Take this."
Buck picked up the large shield of metal he was holding earlier. Moving towards the door, he looked at Hawk as he does so. "You fire like mad at those robots when I open the door."
"Buck, they'll kill you!" Hawk yelled.
Buck was now ready to open the door. "That's what I want them to try at. Don't destroy at least one, we need it active for my plan to work, give me a god lead over you, we're going to be back outside soon. I'm going for the launch tube!"
Buck opened the door, bashing into the robots as he did. They started for him, then quickly dismiss him as Hawk fired at them.
In the side room, Hawk was focusing blaster fire on a robot that was trying to attack him. Hawk turned his head towards the other avian robot in the room, the one from Level 11. It looked at Hawk for a moment, before running out of the room. At that point, Hawk slammed forward. He composed himself, and began to back away from the avian robot that just gave him an ugly gash across one cheek. The robot was on the verge of falling apart completely from blaster fire rapidly hitting it as it advanced on Hawk, still attacking. Hawk kept an eye on the robot still firing, and started bending down sideways for a sheet of curved metal. The blaster gave one final bolt of energy, powered down, and Hawk gave it a morbid look of shock.
The robot took a step forward. With both hands, Hawk slammed the sheet of the curved metal stack across his face. This action finally took down the robot, which just before falling down, looked like it was about to malfunction anyways. Hawk then clicked the blaster with one head, still on the metal sheet. Nothing happened but the noise of the blaster clicking. He looked worried as he pocketed the blaster, and resumed holding the metal sheet with both hands. Hawk ran out of the room, jumping over the robot he just destroyed.
Near the launch tube, a clang of metal could be heard as the metal sheet Hawk held in the fight fell to the concrete ground. Hawk ran towards the sound of Buck's voice. As Hawk was running with one had, he's testing the blaster to see if it's operational again. Now, a loud clang of metal striking metal could be heard.
"Son of a-!" Buck replied. The same sound repeated. "No, not-!"
Another clang of metal sounded through the area, causing Buck to scream.
A louder clang of metal is heard, much louder than the earlier noises. "Jesus thank heaven!" Buck said as he saw what was making the noise.
Hawk looked towards Buck, slowing down as he approached. "Buck, your firearm isn't working anymore!"
Buck was at the start of the launch tube that led to the island outside. He was inside the shell of the avian robot that powered down earlier. The robot from Level 11 was currently beating punches into Buck's stomach and chest, where the shell has been dented some. At Buck's head, light was pouring in of which the shade determined light to be moonlight, due to an opening that was made by the robot beating Buck. Down to either side of Buck and the avian robots were the guts of the robot Buck has hidden himself inside of. A clang of metal against metal could be heard yet again as the avian robot punched Buck's stomach.
"There's a button inside the blaster's trigger!" Buck told Hawk. "Press it, that will reset it."
Hawk did as he was told, as the robot delivered another punch to Buck. Hawk then fired the gun at the robot in front of Buck. The robot collapsed, with a smoking blast hole in its back, onto Buck.
"Incredible," Hawk observed. "It took over a dozen shots to bring down the last one."
"Not- not really," Buck explained. "You just reset it, it's back to full power, more powerful."
Hawk moved over to Buck. "Are you OK?"
Buck gave a short, sharp laugh. Hawk then gently took the fallen robot off of Buck's body, and then removed the shell of metal off of Buck's head.
Buck looked out at the night sky through the opening outside. "Do you trust me now?"
"I trust you now, my friend."
"We... we can get out now," Buck said. Buck lifted his head to look at Hawk, blinking rapidly as Hawk removed the metal covering Buck piece by piece. "Could you do me a favor?"
"Anything," Hawk replied.
"Hold up some fingers up to me," Buck asked. Hawk lifted up a hand with four fingers pointed up. "Four fingers?"
"Lie back down," Hawk ordered.
Buck flopped his head back down, hitting rock and dirt behind it. "Ow."
"That was a brave thing you did," Hawk told his friend.
"Painful," Buck corrected.
"I'll one day be telling my friends and family on Throm of this action by a Human," Hawk promised.
"I'd like a bed now," Buck said.
Hawk began digging dirt and rock out from around Buck to make the entrance to the island outside larger. "You may rest, the danger is over."
Return to Earth