Saturday, July 12, 2014

I 01001100 01101111 01110110 01100101 You #15 (THE END)

Albro found himself surrounded by a swell of well-wishers and sudden admirers. They all seemed obvious to the fact that his eyes darted for an exit and his body tensed with each pat on the back. Those that tried to engage him in conversation received one word responses and panic looks. Sweat began to bead on his forehead.

Men in dark suits pushed their way through the crowd and slowly cordoned Albro off from the masses; creating a small pocket of breathing room. Calvin Rueben Hanson stepped into the circle.

His eyes remained downcast and his shoulder’s slumped, but then his bearing changed and he stood up straight again.

“Please escort everyone out, Mr. Blithe, but see that they pass the souvenir and concession stands before they go.” The men in black maneuvered the crowd towards the exit.

“They will return… and in greater number,” Hanson said, watching them file out like cattle.

“Thank you Obi One, you’re my only hope.”


“Star Wars… it’s from… never mind.” The two were silent, neither looking at the other.

“I’m sorry Albro, I didn’t know. I assumed and I was wrong.”

Albro was taken aback, unsure of what to say.

“I thought…” he struggled uncharacteristically for the right words, “…in my family you fight for everything. When you didn’t fight me it was the greatest slight you could deal me; it told me I was beneath you and not worth your time. I failed to even consider that you might have other reasons.

“You called me your friend, but I am not worthy of that title.”

“You are so melodramatic.” Albro laughed to himself and smiled a little, but then looked back at Calvin with friendly intent. “You have been and always will be… my friend.” Albro even held up his hand with his fingers split.

“Is that from something?”

Albro just shook his head.

*                                  *                                  *

Jefferson put the last pieces of the Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo on the cart, with T1N carrying Ito in his arms. Albro stopped in front of T1N and looked from him to Ito, to Jefferson, to Gronk who was rocking side to side excitedly.

Gronk. Gronk. Gronk. Fpstttssss! Gronk froze and went silent; he’d blown a cap again.

“Thank you, all of you,” Albro said softly. T1N nodded his head, Ito held his one good hand to his head in salute, and Jefferson grinned from ear to ear. “Let’s go home.”

“Actually, it looks like there’s one more fan waiting to get your autograph.” Jefferson motioned towards the side door. Gwen stood there in her green dress. Her eyes were bright and her smile beamed. Albro walked over to her.

“Good job Tin Man.” Gwen put an arm on Albro’s shoulder.

Butterfly suddenly hatched inside Albro’s stomach and his sweat glands went into overdrive. His mouth became as parched as Death Valley and his knees went weak.

“Something wrong?”

Albro looked into Gwen’s eyes; eyes he’d once only viewed through a camera, eyes he had thought about in wishful moments throughout the day, and now were looking at him and it felt like he was seeing them for the first time.

“You have beautiful eyes,” he blurted and then instantly went red. Gwen’s smile turned impish and she laughed.

“I’m glad you noticed.”

Albro seemed to gain some courage from that, so he looked at her again and then held out his hand. “I don’t think we were ever officially introduced. I’m Albro. Albro Swift.”

Gwen took his hand. “Gwen.”

Albro loosened his grip, but Gwen held his hand gently; she felt safe for the first time in a long time and her eyes shared her contentment with a sparkle that had dazzled the recluse. She giggled and then turned so they were now holding hands, “How about dinner?”

He followed without resistance, but then looked back for the motorcycle helmet and gloves he always wore outside; they were sitting on the cart Jefferson was pushing. He lingered on them for a moment and then felt a gentle squeeze. Without looking back he stepped out into the brightly lit day, the two of them silhouetted in the open door.

The end.

I hope all of you who have been following this story have enjoyed it. This end has been hard for me to write, one of the big problems was whether they should kiss at the end. My wife helped me a lot with this and helped steer me to an ending I think is more genuine to the characters. As always your feedback is most welcome and if you liked it, please share. I will probably do another serial in a little while, so I'll see you then.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

I 01001100 01101111 01110110 01100101 You #14

Several crew members removed Ito from the field and swept the platform clear while cheerleaders danced to Jock Jams. Unlike Albro and Jefferson, the mood of the crowd was boisterous; enjoying the AAA entertainment Calvin Reuben Hanson had brought to town. Across the field, behind Maximillian, Hanson smiled like a jackal.

“Why so serious, Albro?” Calvin’s voice was amplified, filling the whole place as the music was faded to silence in a very choreographed maneuver. “Are you ready now to admit I am the best?”

“The best? No.” Albro was surprised at the tone in his own voice and he looked up at Hanson with a mixture of shock and determination.

“The field says otherwise, I think. What does the crowd say?” The small roar gave Calvin his answer and he seemed pleased at the results. “And while I’ve just been informed we cannot use the term Robotech Masters, do to some legal difficulties I’m sure we’ll clear up…”  The graphics splashing Robotech Masters all over the platforms suddenly changed to Robo Masters and crew members pulled the banners from the walls. “…I’ve proven what I would have proved all those years ago. You wronged me, Albro, and now I will have my revenge!”

Hanson brought his hand down and on cue the lights, which had been up were dimmed again, and the umpire signaled for play to resume.

“Maxamillian. Kill.” The brute, turned its head to eye its master and then started slowly towards Raphael who kneeled in front of his goal.

“I can’t watch,” Jefferson said before covering his eyes. Albro wished to do the same, but a hand came to rest on his shoulder. T1N looked at Albro and then motioned towards the field.

“I can’t…” T1N leaned in and put his other hand on Albro’s shoulder. “O.K.”

Albro pulled a blue flag from his back pocket and waved it, desperate to get the umpire’s attention.

“What this Guy? Is Swift attempting to surrender?”

“No, Randy, that is the Point-of-Order flag. He must have something he wants to bring to the umpire’s attention. Looks like we’ll find out.”

The umpire stopped play and Maximillian halted his slow march.

“I wish to make a substitution.” Jefferson, Hanson, and the rest of the crowd all whipped their heads around to look at Albro in surprise.

“Who are you going to substitute, Albro? You’re butler?” Hanson pointed at T1N and laughed.

“Is this allowed,” Randy asked from the announcer’s booth.

“It’s an obscure rule, but as long as whatever he fields does not go over the team’s weight limit he can substitute. The only problem is, you don’t get to subtract the weight of the unit you are substituting, so it’s very rare teams have enough cap to actually do it.”

“Does he have the room?”

“I just did the calculations and he does.”

“And it looks like the umpire came to the same conclusion, he’s letting Swift substitute.”

Albro first whispered to T1N, who then went down to relieve Raphael, and then he whispered to Jefferson, who’s smile widened with each moment he listened.

“Gronk! With me,” he yelled and then jumped off the platform.

“I thought tearing the limbs off of that little toy of yours was going to be highlight, but now you give me the gift of your most prized robot…”



“Robot is Czech for… you known, it didn’t sink in in college; it’s not going to sink in here.” Albro fixed Calvin with an unfriendly gaze. “Do you want to know why I didn’t fight you all those years ago, Cal?”

“I know Albro. You were afraid to fight me.”

“I’ve never been afraid of you, Cal; not even now.”

“Then why did you rat me out to the college police and get me kicked out?”

“I didn’t. You thought I was oblivious to what you were doing, but I knew and I said nothing. We were almost graduated, I wasn’t going to do that to you… you were my friend.”

“Then why didn’t you fight me?”

The steel in Albro’s eyes faded and he seemed poised to run from the platform, but then he spoke again, “I had every intention to fight you that night. I was on my way, in fact. That’s when I was mugged.”

The whole expansive stadium fell silent. Randy looked ready to speak, but Guy silenced him with hand over his mouth and a shush.

“He came up behind me and held a knife to my back. He took everything, threw me to the curb, and then proceeded to kick me until I passed out. I woke up two days later. I couldn’t go outside after that. I couldn’t…” Albro looked at T1N and seemed to take courage from the white automaton standing below.

“All this time I’ve been running away, afraid of everything… afraid to go outside… too afraid to get to know anyone… to be known. But I’m not alone anymore. I’m not fighting you Cal, I’m fighting myself… and you’re in my way!

“I built T1N so that would never happen to me again. You’re right, he’s very important to me, but he’s not my butler, Cal… he’s my bodyguard.” Albro spoke to T1N directly, “There are three flowers in a vase. The third flower is green.”

T1N, who’s visor now glowed red, suddenly moved from a very relaxed position, to performing a series of katas. Then he mimicked stretching muscles he didn’t have.


“DJ Gronk, some beating music if you please.”

Gronk. The little robot had tapped into the snake leading out of the soundboard, effectively taking control.

The lights dimmed so only T1N and Maxamillian could be seen, all else was darkness. Music began to play, growing louder as it built up force…

You've got the touch
You've got the power, yeah

T1N strode confidently, taking a ball from the hopper.

After, all is said and done
You never walk, you never run
You're a winner, you got the moves

Maximillian had returned to guard his goal and he eyed T1N with malice, using one hand to motion T1N closer.

You know the streets, break the rules
Take the heat, you're nobody's fool
You're at your best when the going gets rough
You've been put to the test but it's never enough

T1N crossed the halfway mark.

You got the touch
You got the power

T1N put on a burst of speed, directly at Maxamillian who swung two arms to pulverize the small, white automaton daring to assault him. However, T1N dodged these attacks easily and then struck out at the great joints that gave the arms their movement. Two burst in explosions of green oil and two others would never move again. Maximillian recoiled away and his blood, red eye looked at his useless arms in shock.

You never bend, you never break
You seem to know just what it takes
You're a fighter, it's in the blood
It's in the will, it's in the mighty hands of steel
When you're standin' your ground

Maximillian lets out a fierce roar and swung his remaining two arms at T1N. Bobbing and weaving around the attack like water, T1N again dodged Maxmillian’s attack. Three quick strikes rendered those arms useless as well.

“He’s over 9000,” Calvin Rueben Hanson exclaimed in horror.

You got the touch

Now defenseless, Maxamillian did his best to avoid T1N’s attacks, but each blow landed all over his metal body, crushing and mangling the red monster’s form. Then the attacks stopped and T1N move to stand directly in front of the once great Maximillian, who now looked very much like a defeated fighter, swaying from side to side.

You got the power

T1N gave him one last look and then with the hand that held the ball he punched the great iron beast square in the chest; tearing armor, gears, wiring, and much else. T1N’s hand traveled through Maximillian and out the other side.

You got the touch

The life faded from Maximillian just as T1N tossed the ball into the goal.

You got the power, yeah!

“Eight points! Eight points! I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!”

“That. Was. Amazing. I have never…” Guy struggled to find the words, so he chose to remain silent.

Hanson slumped to the platform just as his robot toppled over when T1N pulled his hand out of it’s chest.

“That’ll do Gronk. That’ll do.” Jefferson smiled a knowing smile as he surveyed the crowd that had gone wild.

Gronk. Gronk.

*                                  *                                  *

I thought I'd be done after this one, but you wouldn't want to miss out on Maximillian's epic defeat would you? So, I'm not going to promise that next week is the end, but its pretty close. See you then.