“This is what I’ve been waiting for you to design?” asked Lumin Mira, holding up the latest schematic.
Bo Dozens pinched the brow of his nose and sighed. “What? It’s what you asked for…full bipedal control from a single operator. It’s everything you wanted.”
“It’s crap.” Lumin crumpled the schematic and cut her eyes at the squat engineer.
Bo gasped and grabbed the plans out of her hand. “Geez Lumin, come on, it’s perfect!”
“Perfect for who, Bo? This scheme of yours requires full body coordination from a standing position, and what looks like at least a hundred pounds of harnesses strapped to the body. All while balancing on a treadmill. Are you kidding me?”
“It’s cutting edge gyro-synced one-to-one movement! Throw a punch, the unit does the same. Duck, twist, jump–whatever–it all happens in sync with the pilot,” said Bo, defensively.
“Bo, were you the star quarterback in your high school?”
“God no, look at me,” said Bo, pinching his well-padded middle.
“Did you get a full ride scholarship with the Yale lacrosse team?”
Bo lifted an eyebrow. “No.”
“Do you know anyone in this building who possesses a modicum of physical prowess whatsoever?”
Bo rubbed his balding head. “I dunno… Skip?”
“Skip?” Lumin laughed. “Skip was cut from an Ultimate Frisbee team. He passed out doing one of those dirty mud dash…things.”
Bo cringed. “Oh.”
“What activities do you excel at, Bo, besides drinking red bulls and wasting my time?”
“Playing video games, writing code…building things…I guess.”
“Just like everyone else in this dusty old factory. We’re not athletes–we’re barely coordinated enough to walk and chew gum–we’re geeks.”
“You’re fairly fit, Lumin,” said Bo, sheepishly.
“Even though I’m an engineer I’m also the Project Manager…I don’t have time to pilot anything. That leaves the rest of you as candidates. All of you.”
Bo laughed. “You can’t be serious.”
“As stipulated in our accord with Japan, a lead engineer from each team must operate their respective country’s robot. Every one of you nerds will have to be ready to rumble.”
Bo discreetly sucked in his stomach. “I feel a little more in shape these days, actually.”
“Uh huh…none of us have adequate time to become pinnacles of physical perfection. We only have six months before we face the Japanese in the tournament and were not even halfway through our build.”
“I’m telling you, Lumin, this control scheme works!”
“After implementing your shit design everyone here would be sweating through the back of their shorts and tripping over their own legs. You know it’s true.”
Bo flared his nostrils. “Fine, then…what precisely were you envisioning?”
“Like I’ve told you before: a seated position, joysticks, foot pedals…some goddamn buttons. You know, just like the ‘battle station’ PC you built in your mom’s basement next to the race car bed you still sleep in.”
“I moved out of my parents’ place long before I came to this damn desert!” barked Bo.
“Okay, okay…sorry,” said Lumin, realizing she had her bitch lights on high beam. “I was joking.”
Despite his anger, Bo quickly acquiesced to Lumin’s wishes. “I can adapt my schematic but it’s just a shame…this mech control scheme was my best design yet. It’s so cool.”
“The Japanese are building a mech, we’re building a robot. It’s not going to be some pointy-shouldered, top heavy, plastic crap pile with elf shoes. It will be an ugly, balls-to-the wall, ass kicking death machine. Now, get me what I want. You have two days.”
“The little birthmark in the center of your forehead turns red when you get worked up,” mumbled Bo, as Lumin left his office in her smart grey suit and thousand dollar heels.