Episode 2: Counter Moves
Written by Impfac
Eva the Diva
For a rare instance, Robocop stood in a crowd and drew almost no attention. Patients, nurses, family-all had more pressing things to do than gawk at the perfectly still cyborg standing by the wall. Maybe two months ago-before the strike got into full swing and the hospital wasn't nearly so crowded or chaotic-it would have been a different story.
Robocop stirred when he saw what he was looking for: a shortish crop of golden brown hair, brushed back, a little longer than normal thanks to a two month hospital stay. Lewis.
Lewis finally pushed through the crowed, giving him a broad smile. She slapped his shoulder, the hollow thump of flesh on cold metal.
"Aren't you supposed to be on duty, officer?"
He smiled slightly, not quite a match for her devilish grin. "I took a sick day. All the diodes on my left side are killing me."
Lewis laughed. He couldn't help but smile at the light in her eyes-for getting released, he supposed, not for him.
He slipped his hand under the strap to her duffel and went though the sliding doors. People parted in his path, clearing it for Lewis and her still tender body. The black cruiser sat with its lights on to the right of the door, partly up on the sidewalk, much to the annoyance of pedestrians. He put her duffel in the back but she grabbed the door as he tried to open it for her.
"Murphy, I'm fine. You don't need to take care of me."
I want to, he almost responded, but stopped himself, leaving him looking somewhat bewildered as she got in.
Robocop settled in the driver's seat, the car sagging with a loud creak a half a foot closer to the ground. He hit the lights and pulled out of the hospital, explaining to Lewis that 'they just move faster' with the lights on. He shut them off once on the street.
"I wanted to thank you," Anne said, "For visiting and everything."
Robocop hesitated, than said simply "You're welcome." It sounded lame to him, but Anne smiled. She really hated the hospital, he thought.
"I've missed it, you know." He glanced at her. "The action, I mean. Doing good. That stuff. It's funny, most cops, if they get hit in the line of duty, come as close as I did, they rethink life. They get a new job, one where you're less likely to get shot. Or maybe they get a desk job or are just more cautious on the beat, usually too cautious.
"But some go back even more psyched than ever. I've seen it-they want that adrenaline rush, that chase, that fire fight. Part of them does anyway. I was never sure where I'd fall, until now."
Murphy felt an uneasy feeling knot what remained of his stomach.
"You want to get shot?" He asked incredulously.
"No!" She said. "I just want that thrill, the rush... I think you still get it."
"I'm not going to do anything stupid, Murphy, I just know this is the job for me."
He silently issued a growl.
A long pause reigned until Anne spoke.
"Is it really as rough out there as they say?"
"No. It's much worse."
"I heard about the warehouse. They killed a lot of cops."
Robocop's jaw clenched in anger. "With no evidence of a motive, two large armored trucks for their escape, and incredibly powerful weapons of unknown origin."
"And," Anne prompted.
Robocop sighed. "And the suspects we captured have been cooperative, but lead us too nothing."
"So they're lying."
"It would seem so." He agreed.
"But you don't believe that."
"I don't know. I don't think they were part of whatever group set this up."
"Then why...." She trailed off when she saw his jaw clenched, lips pulled back in agony. "Murphy?" She asked, alarmed. "Murphy, Jesus, say something."
His arms went straighter and straighter, pushing him into his seat. His mouth opened but he said nothing. The engine roared as he floored it. A car blared its horn angrily as it was forced into the opposite lane by the Taurus. She realized they were going almost 70 in a 40 and accelerating. Fortunately the road was clear, but far ahead a group of cars waited at a light. Maybe five blocks, she guessed.
Her eyes went wide as she saw the wheel begin to deform in his grip. Suddenly he began to slam against his seat violent, the force shaking the whole car. His head snapped back and a piercing, inhuman electronic wail emerged from his lips, the sound of a modem and static and a human scream perversely fused.
She shut the car off as it passed 90. Three blocks until they rammed the back of a minivan. Murphy's rocking stopped along with the shriek, but he trembled slightly.
"Ok Murphy," She said as she took the shifter, "I don't know if you can hear me, but I'm going to downshift to slow us down." She pulled it down. The car lurched, the nose dipping as it was suddenly slowed. Eighty.... seventy five.... Only two blocks to go. Then she forced it from third into second with the same effect, seventy, sixty five... then with a horrible snaping sound something in the transmission gave. The Taurus issued violent grinding sounds, shimmying hard for brief moment, and stopped slowing. She couldn't move the shifter.
And I probably voided the warranty too, she thought sardonically. Sixty five. One blocks. She could see the people in the mini-van, two kids looking out over the backseat at their impending death with youthful glee. She'd give them a ticket for not restraining their kids, she vowed, if she lived.
She pulled the parking break. The rear tires locked, screaming as they left long black lines. The kids were screaming now, but the minivan had nowhere to go. She might live, but the kids had no chance.
Three car lengths now. The shadow of the minivan touched the bumper. Then the Taurus jerked to the left, into the opposing lane. It moved so swiftly Lewis was thrown against the door, her head striking the window. Metal screamed against metal as the side of the cruiser was ripped off by the vans bumper. The collision forced the car into a chaotic fishtail until finally it spun 360 across the opposite lane, at last coming to a rest.
Lewis blinked the stars out of her eyes, sitting up. Murphy was breathing hard-she didn't realize until that moment he still required air-and staring down at nothing.
"Are you injured?" He asked.
"What? Oh, no. What-"
"I don't know what happened. My systems went into arrest and refused to respond. But I know what it felt like. It felt like being back in that factory. It felt like dying."
"'I don't know!?' I can't accept that! That isn't good enough!" Lewis yelled, pain lancing up her sides.
"Yeah?" The tech-who had, until this point, been incredibly calm as Lewis abused him-replied, voice rising, face reddening. "Why don't you search his forty five million lines of code for the one fucking one that might-might-be causing this faster then me and then get back to me!"
Her fists clenched. She stepped toward him. "You insolent little-"
She stopped mid-motion, her and the white coated tech holding a hateful glare for a long time before she finally unballed her fists and looked over at Murphy. With his helmet off she could see that he wasn't angry.
"He doesn't know." He said simply.
She felt the anger drain out of her, her muscles unclench, shoulders dropping slightly. He was right, of course. She didn't have any good reason to be angry with the techs-she was angry because she was useless here. She couldn't help her friend.
She walked over and stood beside his chair, resting her hand on his, idly studying the black armored exterior with dull eyes. What time was it, she wondered distantly.
"I know what you feel like."
"I know." She said quietly, secretly wondering what he really could feel anymore.
"They've run their tests, looked at my insides. Nothing is wrong."
"Yeah, you're just cherry Mu-Robo." She caught herself.
His cold iron finger slipped under her chin, brining her face up to look into his eyes. They were soft and full of worry, she thought. She didn't notice their faces were only a few inches apart.
"I've survived death. I'll overcome a bug."
She smiled weakly. Was his face warm? she wondered. "I know, Robo. Just do it soon."
He smiled back. "I will. You know I want to be together-"She thought she felt him twitch slightly. His expression seemed to change, become strained. "Together on patrol." His voice was suddenly dull, more mechanical. Lewis straightened. Her face turned red. She wanted to rip it off, throw it away, hide the betraying blushing at her discomfort, but she didn't know why. Why did the soft tone in his voice-and the sudden way it had vanished thanks to something she'd said or done-bother her so much?
Or was she imagining it? She was so tired. She figured it was probably well into the morning of the day after she'd been released from the hospital. She'd stayed with him, like a bedside vigil. Ten, fifteen hours? He'd ordered her away to get sleep, but she'd refused.
And now you're imagining things. Pain killers, Einstein.
In the background, one of the techs yelled to another, "Hey Bob, can you get a fix on the heart rate flux? It just shot way up."
"I think I should go catch some Z's, Robo."
"Yes." He agreed, voice echoing metallically.
Johnson's fingers moved rapidly over his keyboard. His eyes ached and burned behind his glasses. Navigating OCP's huge database of literally billions of files-everything from public earnings reports to anonymous memos addressed to "Dear Mr. Dickhead"-was a tedious process. Add in the classified internal documents he had access too and external publications like newspapers and magazines and the task became massive.
Normally he'd assign it to an underling he was annoyed with, but this task required discretion and a trained eye.
He knew he'd seen it. It wasn't a smoking gun, but it would lead him to one he was sure. Something OCP had accidentally stumbled upon, noted, and filed away long ago. Xui was rotten, he was sure of it.
He'd tried to warn the Old Man, but what could he say? 'I don't have any reason, sir, and I know he's one of the most qualified people on earth, but he's just creepy, sir.' That'd go over great, he chuckled darkly to himself.
He signed, rubbed his eyes, and went back to work, unaware that in a distant office his every move and keystroke was being carefully watched and recorded.
And then he found what he'd been looking for. Now the end game had begun.
Lewis cringed as she tightened the new bandages around her abdomen, relieved that the task was finally done for another few days. She climbed into bed and opened the book to the marked page, but knew before she began she wouldn't be turning many pages tonight.
Within a few paragraphs her mind was wondering to him. Robocop. Murphy. The man she'd begun to develop a desperate crush on within only a few hours of meeting him, before his horrible murder.
Now this man she thought she could love had come back as a... a machine? Sometimes, when they got close, that's what he seemed. Whenever things got too personal it was like some override kicked in and he suddenly lost his humanity. But other times he seemed to be that soft hearted family man she... loved?
Anne sighed and put her book away, too distracted to remember marking the page. Yes, she knew with time she'd fall in love with this married man. But fate was cruel and he was a single cyborg now.
But he still cared for her. She'd known the spark was mutual when she met him, though she also knew he'd never betray his wife.
Was she developing feelings for this cyborg? She wondered with dismay.
He's a machine, she thought fiercely, trying to believe. But she didn't believe.
Am I really falling back in love with Murphy?
She shut off the light, turned over gently, and tried to sleep.
"Officer! This is highly irregular! You don't have clearance to leave yet! You-"
Robocop phased out most of the rest of this. His detection equipment made ignoring the shrill, panicked voice from behind him easy . Hours upon hours troubleshooting, making calls to Texas, Japan, California, all the places where his computer components had been designed or manufactured or both, dozens of parts removed, exchanged, tested, replaced. All this to determine what Murphy already knew but OCP didn't seem to accept just yet-he was going back on duty, and no one could stop him. Not without a bazooka, anyway.
Entering the final hallway to the waiting police cruisers, a hand slapped down on his metal shoulder. That he wouldn't ignore. He spun so suddenly the tech, who'd been walking briskly behind him, ran into him face first with a yelp of shock.
"Assaulting an officer, violation of penal code 255C D and F." His left leg split open. The tech watched with wide, terror filled eyes as he produced a handcuff gun; surprisingly strong, flexible plastic loops that, when tightened and clinched, were virtually impossible to break free of .
For a moment the tech stared at the gun, then at Robocop, then with a little squeak turned and fled. Trying not to smile too much, Murphy replaced the handcuff gun and went to a cruiser-the garage was so full dozens were actually parked outside in tight little rows. Normally there would be perhaps two dozen police cars available. Today there were almost a hundred and fifty.
As he climbed into the Taurus-whose suspension squealed unhappily as it sank under his weight-he tried to think where he would go. He could find criminals anywhere in Detroit, but that wasn't what he wanted. A new and dangerous gang had started to rise, its one seeming goal being to kill cops. OCP didn't seem able to deal with them. The ED-209s had restored some order, but not much. Why the national guard hadn't been deployed was still a mystery, but OCP continued to insist the strike was drawing to a close.
Murphy had the faces of the men he'd seen, including those from the warehouse ambush, stored in his memory and had looked each up in the database, looking for popular hangouts and common denominators among them.
Finally, he found one.
The engine rumbled to life, the tires squealing.
As Johnson drove his four year old station wagon up the long driveway of the Xui's newly acquired home, he felt a pang of both pride and shame. Shame at driving such a relatively old and unsophisticated vehicle; pride at avoiding the pitfalls of wealth that the other executives seemed to be mired in.
And of course annoyance. Annoyance at being forced to attend the housewarming party of a man he despised, an employee he'd been forced to take. The Old Man had stunned him-hell, stunned everyone-by appointing Johnson as head of Security Concepts rather than Xui. But Johnson's hatred of Xui was making the position difficult, yet he was powerless to remove him. Xui's reforms and selections for board seemed to cruise through with ease, often over Johnson's avid objections. What power did he have, anyway, when Xui had picked more than half the board of executives from outside cronies? This had alienated most of the company old timers, of course. And why not? They had been passed up for outsiders by outsiders. Johnson didn't like it either. But the Old Man loved Xui and his authoritative command style. Fresh blood policy, he said.
So now, for the sake of being politic, Johnson found himself at the home of the man he hated, attending a party he didn't want to, all without his wife Donna who was visiting her mother. What lousy timing. He missed her even more for it. Fifteen years and they still adored each other.
The valet eyed his car without comment as he took the keys. Johnson smiled amiably. Then the door opened and it was Xui himself coming down the flight of white steps.
"Donald!" He called cheerfully. "I'm so glad you could make it!"
No you're not, asshole. "It's my pleasure."
"No," Xui came to his side, placing a hand between his shoulders and gesturing him inside. "The pleasure is mine."
"Nice place." Johnson offered awkwardly.
Xui flashed his winning, false smile. "Oh, it serves us well enough. I hope you'll enjoy the party."
"I'm sure I will."
They stood before the door, but as Johnson reached for the handle, Xui spoke up.
"Johnson," He said, the fake friendliness absent now. "I'd like to talk before you came in."
Johnson's eyebrows went up, genuinely interested as to what was about to follow.
"I know you're not my biggest fan, Johnson. We've butted heads more than a few times, and I'm the new guy. It must gall you. But really, we have the same interest in heart, don't we?"
"Perhaps..." Johnson said slowly. Something about Xui seemed genuine now.
"We both want the company to prosper, don't we?"
"Then we have to work together. I have a plan."
"I've seen you're plan." Johnson said blandly. "I don't think-"
"No, not that plan! That is fodder for the commoners. I have another plan, a plan that will make OCP great again!" Now Xui's eyes blazed. "But it requires some... extraordinary measures."
"Actually, I have some idea of what you mean. I found-"
"I was acquitted, you know. That matter was resolved."
"Trying to sell weapons illegally. Is that how CRI got on top? I'll bring it to the old man you know."
"I've been in this business longer than you, son."
Johnson felt hatred flair inside him but swallowed it, with some effort he hoped didn't show. He'd really hoped to avoid Xui.
"You're not Dick Jones. You're not getting away with this."
Xui barked laughter. "No! No Dick Jones! Because I get away with what I plot. I would leave this alone Johnson... if you know what's good for you."
STaR! idly filed her nails, making the two inch long spikes sharper, taking out some of the chips. Before she'd come to work for THE GO FUCK YOURSELF, she'd been Rhonda Fairburn, college student by day, partier by mid-day. She was around the club enough-had slept with enough of its regulars-that when she'd asked for a job after her parents cut off funding her education because of her third failing semester, there had been no question. No one knew her real name, just the one she always went by, the one she had started to think of herself as.
THE GO FUCK YOURSELF was exclusive-scum, assholes, criminals, pushers, gangsters, etc. As a result it was one of the safest party joints in town-everyone was armed, and they knew if they made trouble they'd probably wake up minus a body part. So, since she'd started coming almost a year ago, STaR! had never seen a cop anywhere near the place. Later she would explain how stunned she was to see a police car pull upfront, and for some robot, Mannie, a fucking robot (she didn't watch the news) to come marching out. So she'd been too surprised to hit the panic button (that she'd never used) to warn that the police had arrived. She said all this before the Latino guy that now ran the place shot her in the face, in front of her replacement, someone who didn't have punctuation in their name.
But when it happened, STaR! simply gawked, coming to her senses only as the thing passed her booth by.
"Hey! It's $10 to get in! Hey!"
Distantly, a cell phone chirped urgently.
Johnson groaned as he sat up. His head pounded and for a moment the world spun slightly. The silk sheets feel away from his body, exposing the thin matt of hair on his chest to the cold. God, how much had he had to drink last night? Ten? Fifteen? That's what it felt like, but he'd thought only a half dozen at most.
Distantly he realized he hadn't gone home. Too drunk he guessed.
He fumbled for his cell phone on the bed stand then froze in horror. The cellphone droned on. Underneath it sat a series of pictures. Of him. And some strange woman.
Numbly, he picked up the phone. "Johnson."
"Have a good time last night." Xui said, gloating. Without pausing for a response, he continued, "I wonder, what would you're wife think of all this? A nice Catholic couple like you two... why, she'd probably want a divorce, wouldn't she."
"Goddamn you." Johnson managed, but he could feel tears starting to sting his eyes.
"Bring what you found to the old man, and I'll destroy you. Understand, Johnson? This is bigger than you. Bigger than me. Play nice and no one gets hurt. Got it."
"Yeah," Johnson said, coldly. "I got it."
He hung up the phone. No one was in bed with him now. Yes, he understood; he understood he'd have to get rid of Xui no matter what the cost.
She'd figured the two armed guards would have tried to stop the thing, but they merely stared, then dropped their guns and bolted. They'd face Rojano too, on their knees, shamed with wet crotches and tear streaked faces, right before he blew them away-not for failing to shoot, but for failing to alert the club goers.
Down a short, dark hall was the main room, a large circle with lasers, black lights, reflective balls, a riot of colors and light that made tripping that much more fun. This was a jumble of people, some only partially clothes, dancing rhythmically to their repetitious music. Above them the room was circled by windows where the real party for the exclusives was.
The hall branched off into two side corridors of doors marked with hearts and baskets of free condoms (into which someone had spit their chewed gum). Based on the arrest record of Steven Furth, he knew his weakness for prostitutes.
Robocop picked the hall on the right. There where three doors on either side, all but two closed. He tried the first door-locked-but it popped open when he pressed. The girl screamed, the guy swore (but didn't stop his urgent thrusting), but he wasn't Furst. Next door, same thing, but this time the guy tried to bolt past Murphy. He drove the mans head into the doorframe as he tried to slip past, then closed the door, leaving the frightened hooker alone.
Behind the next door he found what he was looking for, although it wasn't a site he wished to see. Furth was sitting at the edge of the bed leaning back, groaning, while a somewhat overweight woman was on her knees in front of him. Furth himself was listed at 220 in the records-he might be pushing 280 now Murphy thought.
Furth's head snapped up when the door popped open; the woman didn't notice until Furth jumped up, sending her backwards. Furth reached for the gun on the night table just out of reach but tripped over the pants around his ankles and toppled with a "FUCK!" and a loud crash. The woman grabbed her purse and fled, wiping her mouth as she went.
Robocop slammed the door behind her.
"I didn't do anything!" The fat man yelled, his flabby white buttocks giggling as he tried to pull his pants on. Murphy wasn't about to try and stop him.
"Possession of an illegal firearm, violation of penal codes 225.5b and c, felony. Soliciting a prostitute, violation of penal code 1114.2. Being a piece of shit-violation of directive 1."
"Direct-wha-what?" He stammered, finally getting his pants up. He sat on the floor against the bed.
With a metallic click Robocop's knuckles split open, his long data interface spike unsheathing with a menacing sound. Furth's eyes widened, face blanching.
"I want to know who you work for and where I can find them."
"G-g-g-go fuck yourself." He stammered, eyes never leaving the spike. "I-I work alone."
Before he even knew he was going to do it, Directive Three-Uphold the Law-began to flash in his vision, buzzing, just as it had when he was on the verge of killing Boddiker. He hadn't intended to drive the spike through Furth's eye-only draw it close enough to scare him. It was Furth who jerked back suddenly, slamming his head violently against the bed post, then jerking forward in response, burying a good half inch of the silver spike into his eye. He screamed, pulling back again and again hitting his head, but this time not noticing. He cupped his hands gently over the soggy remains of his eye. Clear liquid tinted with blood ran from under his fingers.
"You fuck! You put out my fucking eye oh you cocksucker you fucking shit sucking motherfuck-"
Directive Three finally stopped flashing.
Robocop grabbed him around the neck and drew him close.
"One eye left. Who do you work for?"
"He'll kill me." He whimpered, almost sobbed.
"You cooperate and I'll make sure that doesn't happen."
"No one can do that. He'll find me anywhere. He's got power, connections."
Unbidden, a flash from his memory: 'Don't you get it, you Cocksucker! I work for Dick Jones! Dick Jones! He's the number 2 guy at OCP! OCP runs the cops! You're a cop-!'
"Connections to who?" Robocop said with a chill.
"I swear I don't know, I swear! He wont tell me, they buy us the-"
"What is his name?"
"Rojano." Furth said quietly, and now he was crying. "Emanuel Rojano. He runs this place."
Robocop grew even paler. Rojano taken out the old scum bag drug lord that ran this place and put himself and his scum bags in place. Impressive. Boddiker could only try to be as powerful as the former club owner, and Rojano had taken him down.
"Arrest me now, before-"
"Answer some more questions and I will. Where are your hideouts?"
Furth listed a few places storing weapons or drugs around the city, mostly in the ghettoes but a few in the nicer districts. Interesting.
"Why are you killing cops?"
"I don't know!"
"Does Rojano simply enjoy it?"
The obese man hesitated. "I-I'm not really sure. I don't know if he enjoys anything. Fuck man please-"
"One more. Where will I find Rojano?"
Furth began to reply when the door behind Robocop exploded, sending the cyborg staggering forward from the concussion. The fat man was screaming. Robocop had just managed to get his gun out when he heard the tink tink of a metallic cylinder hitting the ground just to his left. He turned away, shielding his face moments before the grenade went off. He was lifted off his feet and into the wall, crashing through the thin plaster and wood into the other room.
A diagram of his left arm came up-the armor was ruptured and he was leaking oil, but otherwise he was unharmed. He pushed himself upright, vision jumping and snowing for a moment before resolidifying. He felt distinctly human-dizzy, weak. It felt as if his limbs had grown a few extra feet and he was having a hard time controlling them.
Behind him there was a burst of automatic gunfire. Now on his feet, he turned slowly, switching to heat scanning and seeing the two gunmen through the thin walls. They weren't shooting at him, he realized, but at Furth. The fat man writhed and jumped, body vomiting blood from hundreds of wounds.
Robocop fired two bursts, felling both gunmen. The distant feeling had faded almost completely.
He heard the door behind him kicked open, turning to fire but again hearing that horrifying tink of another cylindrical grenade. Later he would learn those grenades were meant to rupture tank armor.
It landed to his right, near the ruined wall. He kicked it through the hole and turned. When it exploded he again staggered.
Robocop tried to turn his attention to tracking his assailants when two more grenades came sailing through. One he actually managed to slap mid-flight, sending it back into the hall to the very loud dismay of some thugs. The other went through what was left of the wall between the two rooms and exploded. This time Robocop crashed backward into the bed, which collapsed under the impact.
When he struggled to get up, he realized his right arm wasn't responding. Further, he realized his systems hadn't realized his arm wasn't responding.
I can't win this¸ he thought despondently.
Welcome to media break! Tonight: The iron cop that was to clean up Detroit is in the scrap heap today as a local adult entertainment outlet owner defended himself from an unreasonable search and seizure by the overzealous unit. OCP is seeking replacement costs for the "Robocop" unit stating "the loss is tragic, but surely 400 million would erase the offense."
He wouldn't let it happen. He had the information to bring down Rojano now-he hoped-and he'd do it.
Gritting his teeth, Robocop flipped over. The wall before him was the outside wall of the club. A small one foot by two foot window that had been painted and covered was now shattered. If it was as flimsy as the rest of the building...
Through the door he could hear the screams of the patrons-mostly the female dates of the criminal associates that were currently fleeing. He could also hear orders being shouted as his assailants cautiously regrouped for the kill.
He pushed himself to his knees, backed up from the wall, and dug his feet in as best he could. Then he thrust as hard as he could, ramming his head into the wall. For a moment his vision was gone in a blur of static and he collapsed to the ground, his brain jolted out of consciousness.
Then the computer administered an electric shock and he was suddenly awake again as if nothing had happened. One of the shock absorbers in his upper torso had twisted under the impact, his diagnostics warned.
Nothing! He thought with dismay as he worked himself upright again. Then he saw the gentle slope that had appeared-a subtle outward bulging of the wall.
Outside someone yelled, "About fucking time! Get them in there!" Get 'them' in there? Grenades? Probably.
The simple and fierce thought came to him again; NO. His doubt was replaced by determination. He steeled himself, squeezing his eyes shut, and drove himself forward. When he awoke this time-out for a total of 3.54 seconds, the computer chirped helpfully-dust clouded his vision. Bricks fell to the ground as he pulled himself forward. His right arm shot sparks and sprayed oil, his internal diagnostics warning of possible system failure.
It took him a moment to remember what he had been attempting to do. When he pushed upright he saw that he'd succeeded-he was on the sidewalk outside the club. His cruiser was in his periphery vision, tires flattened, engine gently smoking. But all this he barely noticed-he had only a scant second pushed upright to registered the hulking behemoths just ten feet before him.
Then the three ED-209s open fired.
of episode two