ISLAND IN THE SAND

PART XXXII

Ninety-One glided almost silently past Star’s right shoulder before she had any idea what the service robot might be doing. Her rifle was aimed, supporting Jameson’s rifle, at the same well-disguised crack which would likely open to disgorge Sly and his boys. Ninety-One did not slow or hesitate, as it ran its treads into the side of the metal wall before stopping. An implement of some sort extended out from the body of the robot and crackling fire sparked back from where the tip of the implement touched. Ninety-One ran the fiercely hot tool up and down the visible line of the door crack, which wasn’t just vaguely visible when it was done. An angry dark and smoking line replaced the crack from the deck all the way to the ceiling. The operation had taken place in only seconds. Star hadn’t even lowered her weapon before Ninety-One pulled back as if to review its work.

“Close the hatch,” Ninety-One ordered. “There is no other access to this control center that would not take hours or days to accomplish cutting through, even given all the right tools for the job.”

Jameson and Star both dropped their rifles and ran to the big heavy hatch. The opening had been forgotten in lieu of protecting themselves from a direct attack through the lift they had entered the control center through.”