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3010 Pt 3

By Jon Brown

Like Father Like Son

(From year one on Guilbertine Jonathan Eye, lover of his forefathers era, modelled the facial features of his Comandroids purposely to the likenesses of both Emperor Ming and of course Dr. Doom. A humanoid Pressed outward over a seven foot titanium alloy endoskeleton)

General Gregan kneeled in front of his maker with his head bowed. This time though, along with his immeasurable respect, he carried feelings of grave concern. From within his glass sanctuary, sited in the middle of the grotto, the king regarded his first born level three Comandroid with a smile which was almost affectionate.

'I shall be all right, General,' King Eye told him, 'The Order has assured me.'

'Yes but-'

'Enough, General,' The king halted him, 'I am only too aware that you and certain numbers of The Order do not see eye to eye, but that mainly is your own fault, is it not?' he paused to sigh as he watched the General answer with a reluctant nod, 'And.' he began haltingly, '.as your maker.mine too I suppose.'

'Very well then your Excellence,' he said raising his head, 'But you are not to blame for their incompetence.'

'You will take final detail of the stealth operation from number three,' the King told him preferring to ignore the remark for fear of any truth it held.

'But your Excellence the damage sustained to my ship?' he reminded him.

'I am told T-5 is beyond repair and due for salvage,' the king raised his brow in despair, 'You will be put in command of T-6. And I can only hope that you will take more care of it.'

'Sir, will there be any foreigners aboard my crew?'

'One: a Versatile by the name of Hix.' But do not worry you will have the guards you need should he prove problematic.'

The name rang a bell, though it was of no matter, 'A Versatile, the most dangerous type of hobbit as I recall. And a prisoner no doubt here in the Eye prison.'

'He will work hard for his freedom.'

'As long as The Order do not make the same mistakes again, your Excellence,' he reminded him, 'I sometimes wonder if they listen to you properly at all,' he paused to sigh, 'Their hearing seems to have become.' he paused to clench his fist, '.almost selective to the point of convenience.'

'Ah,' the king sighed, 'How your concern for me is like a son, though you should not worry yourself with these matters.'

'As were the concerns of lieutenant general Finzak, and Vechox,' he paused, 'Yet they are no longer here to serve you, and voice you of their concerns for your well being. As I know they once did.'

The king sighed longer this time as he regretted the loss of his second and third born, 'But they were level three comandroids, unafraid to die for our planet, like yourself, General.'

'I have their trophies still, your Excellence,' he reminded him, 'The hobbits and the humans who foolishly undervalued your services back on wretched earth.'

'Ah, so long ago now,' he closed his eyes as he strained to remember, 'So much anger.So thirsty for revenge,' he paused and allowed his eyes to slowly open 'before the militias took control.' the king tried to hide his frown, 'Early programming for which I am to blame.'

'But The Order shall not stop me your excellence.'

'But they will try until you do, General.'

'Then should The Order not be brought into question, again, your Excellence?' the General hissed as he slammed a fist into his palm.

The king shook his head tiresomely, 'The case is closed, their was no blame on The Order,' he paused to look around at his glass confines, 'It was my mistake caused through error and misjudgement. That is why I took the blame,' he paused to swallow, 'And that is why I have agreed to go ahead with the move of my sanctuary below The Order.'

'And there I am led to believe, your powers will be restored to a greater level?' he remembered what The Order had promised members of the court, though his voice held doubt.

'They have shown me the geometrical and scientific facts, General. The ether is stronger yet more accessible there. The inner Eye will function with greater efficiency.'

'Mm,' the General wondered if he would see the king again, 'As long as you will not be driven into a state resembling punitive coma,' he trailed, remembering with sorrow now, the vitality the human king had once possessed. In truth the only human he'd ever respected. Though with time it seemed his body had grown evermore sickly and retched in its glass tank.

The king frowned, 'Why do you say that?'

'Well your excellence, was it not certain members of The Order who encouraged the idea in the overcrowded prisons back on earth?

'Nonsense General,' his anger flared, 'That was then, this is now,' he reminded him as his puny body began to quiver, 'I insist that you must trust them on this matter,' he paused as he fought to control his involuntary spasms, 'As if you were I, General.'

There followed a long moment of silence before the General continued: 'Very well, your Excellence,' he said as he bowed again, 'And I will see you safely in your new home when I return?'

'Of course,' he assured the General, 'And then we will speak again.'

'I look forward to the moment your Excellence,' the General sighed under his breath, before he stood saluted and turned smartly about to leave the sanctuary, though this time he could not prevent himself from looking back, such was his concern for his maker in the hands of The Order. And it was in that brief moment that he thought he saw the look of worry written on the sickly white face of the king. Though when he turned to stand in the lift, waiting briefly for the doors to shut, the fatherly smile was there again.

***

Below the king, in the temple room, the monks seated in their lotus positions, hovered above the blue circle of light which shone softly around the huge inner Eye, containing the ether as they studied the southern sectors via the kings retina built within the marble floor beneath them. On the stage three steps below them, the General remained kneeled as he pored over the recorded stratagem once again by way of his cameye. Satisfied, he nodded, at the final polishing of his stealth plan, 'As we are one and all in greed,' the General muttered his pledge of honour much to the appreciation of the monk. Though the General thought only of his king above them as he spoke the words. For he was greedier than any of them, to serve the king justly, 'Though I question the stability of the crew,' he remarked as his eyes studied the list again for a final time, and noted a shortage of warbot guards.

'Please do not distress yourself General,' number three tried to assure him of the Hobbit, 'You have a better crew than captain Jenchax who will be accompanying you in T-7.'

'But I am a General.'

'Ah, but captain Jenchax exercises discretion and has cost us little,' number two stated, 'You have cost us much.'

'But I have gained you much more,' the General pointed out bluntly.

'We have prepared the hobbit's proteins and his physical strength will be halved,' added number one after a long moment of silence.

'Will he not detect this doctoring,' the right hand of the General itched for his gun at the thought of killing yet another disobedient hobbit, 'I will not tolerate any disorder aboard my ship.'

'We know, General,' number three said as he looked across at number seven.

'Guilbertine will not abide disobedience from the hands who serve her,' number seven subtly affirmed as he turned to stare at the General.

'Trust us as you trust the king himself,' number twelve spoke.

'General you must have faith in us, as servants of the Eye,' number eleven demanded.

The General shook his head with despair, 'But military rules specify the need for four guards to one Versatile,' he paused to raise his hands, 'Three for a Malleable Two-'

'For the Broad, that is correct General,' number eight interjected.

'A close descendant to the Militia king, too,' the General impressed as he stood up, retracted the cameye into his visor and saluted The Order.

'As are over one third of the Hobbit race, General,' number ten reminded him.

'As in reality are we all,' number nine joined him, 'Linked by association, and awaiting our parole.'

'After all it is they and their foolish human cousins who believe in the lie of freedom. For what a futile waste I witnessed it to be on earth after the hobbits return and before militia rule,' number thirteen continued tiresomely.

'Only the law of greed brings power and stability to a planet,' number four stated with enthusiasm.

'Like our planet General,' number six proudly stated, as the General turned smartly about and headed for the lift.

'And one more thing, General,' number one spoke firmly in his evenly modulated voice, tainted only by his slight lisp, 'No more heads,'

With hardly more than a moments pause, the General stopped, without turning , and answered them with a cursory nod, and another salute as was his way, before he set off again to board T-6.

'For discretion is the better part of valour,' number two added.

'That is an order, General Gregan,' this time they all spoke in unison, though he refused to be shaken as he left them down in the temple cave.

Caught within the dim reflection of a rhenium wall panel he thought he saw The Order mocking him, all twelve wearing likeminded smiles. Though when he turned in the lift to face them once more, their stoic expressions had returned.

(C)opyright 2006 Jon Brown All Rights Reserved

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