GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS: A thank you

robot thanksGIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS is finished! Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read this crazy serial. Whether you came for the story or for the illustrations, I appreciate your support. Eventually I may condense this into an e-book, so if you find that prospect interesting let me know in the comments.

Every chapter is listed below, if you want to catch up.

Stay tuned: It’s quite likely a new serial will be popping up here soon.

-Nate


GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 1: Lumin lays down the law

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 2: Drips

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 3: Buttercup in the darkness

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 4: Lumb and Lumin

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 5: Fantasy fulfillment

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 6: Test run

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 7: Buried hopes

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 8: The Wizard of Z

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 9: Highsteaks

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 10: Painful stomach pressure

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 11: Ferrofluid forever

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 12: Shuffle Pigs unite!

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 13: Edridge Roundstone checks in

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 14: Meet the Kyoto Team

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 15: Lamb plantations

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 16: 7 Minutes

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 17: Shuffleboard

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 18: Dirty Dozens

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 19: Eight days until the match

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 20: Seven days until the match

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 21: Six days until the match

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 22: Robot Monster

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 23: Three days until the match (includes motivational montage playlist)

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 24: Cardboard Riker

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 25: S.N.A.F.U.U.F.O.

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 25½: Two days before the match

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 26: Rubber

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 27: Wasteland 2.0

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 28: Less than a day before the match

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 29: Final preparations

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 30: This is happening

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 31: Filament

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 32: Loss

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 33: Control the narrative

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 34: Concessions

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 35: Crappie

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 36: Sheer, stupid luck

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 37: The Outlaw

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 38: Never good

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 39: Hog fodder

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 40: Early death

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 41: Amateur psychology

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 42: An entirely different place

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 43: Sorry for your loss

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 44: Not even Beyoncé

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 45: No love lost

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 46: Hail Mary

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 47: F***ing maniac

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 48: Jared Leto

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 49: We now join the final match, already in progress

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 50: I’d rather be at Loaf ‘N Jug

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 51: Samurai

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 52: CBGB & OMFUG

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 53: Shuffle Pigs are go!

GIANT FREAKIN ROBOTS part 54: Poker face

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 55: Highsteak® revisited

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 56: All That Jazz

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 57: The 5th Dimension

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 58: Ragtag

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 59: Joan & Lita

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 60: R.I.P. Lumpy

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 61: Unit 04 (死/し) and Unit 09 (苦/く)

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 62: Miu Dokujima mourns

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 63: The world misses you

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 64: Head to toe

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 65: The woods

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 66: Fat little toes

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 67: Giant freakin’ robots

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 68: The Reset

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 69: The Consecrated Planes

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GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 69: The Consecrated Planes

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Although faced with a grim decision, Lumin found it impossible to hold on to a coherent thought. With her world spinning into a vortex of absurdity, all she could do was laugh. When her brief fit of hysteria subsided she wiped the tears from her eyes and caught her breath. “How the hell did we get here, Eldridge?”

“Lumin?” asked Eldridge, raising an eyebrow.

“If you could only fathom how much I regret not joining that nonprofit conservation group. God help me, I was so sick of scrounging and scraping to survive. I had no defense against the $50,000 signing bonus Ryan Lumb was offering. I chose Louboutins over Doug fir seedlings only to end up wrecking every pair of fancy heels I bought.”

“I’m not sure I’m following your train of thought,” said Eldridge.

“Somehow, I never questioned why someone with so little experience would be considered for a management position. You were pulling Lumb’s strings behind the scenes all along.”

Eldridge shrugged a bit. “Only in regards to the tournament. Soon after Mr. Lumb suggested the contest to Kengi Sato I took the reins of the project. Later on I provided full funding to the American team so I could have more direct involvement in the project without raising too many questions.”

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GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 68: The Reset

THE STORY SO FAR:

Braggadocio between American and Japanese robotics engineers on social media escalates to a real-world face-off on a massive scale. Utilizing multi-million dollar budgets provided by corporate donors, each team builds a gigantic robot to compete in a best-of-three fighting tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When the tournament abruptly ends amidst chaos, eccentric billionaire Eldridge Roundstone reveals he has been secretly funding both robotics teams, with the goal of developing unconventional weapons to combat an impending alien invasion. The doubts of the American Team’s leader, Lumin Mira, are erased when she witnesses the alien invaders arrive and use their towering beasts to destroy all who oppose them.
Roundstone welcomes the American and Japanese teams as well as their loved ones at his compound, named “Z,”  near Cupertino, California. There, he reveals his plan to attack the invaders using a robot army built with a hybrid of American and Japanese technology.
With new pilots trained and squadrons formed, the resistance begins. Despite winning some battles, the invaders regroup and start to converge on the compound in gigantic numbers. Lumin and her squad mates manage to defeat the horde with some unconventional tactics, but their victory is tempered by the shocking news that Eldridge Roundstone has manufactured the entire alien invasion to forward his own secret agenda.

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Lumin forced the insane ramifications of Skip’s discovery out of her mind so she could concentrate on getting her injured teammates extracted from the battlefield. Z’s medical facility was too limited, so she had the wounded airlifted to Regional Medical Center in San Jose.

22 pilots had been injured; suffering burns, broken limbs, concussions and lacerations. Three pilots, Hayashi among them, were knocked unconscious and couldn’t be roused. The forces inside the control bells must have been immense for the cushioning ferrofluid to have failed so catastrophically. Although many pilots had been critically injured, somehow, none had died.

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GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 67: Giant freakin’ robots

THE STORY SO FAR:

Braggadocio between American and Japanese robotics engineers on social media escalates to a real-world face-off on a massive scale. Utilizing multi-million dollar budgets provided by corporate donors, each team builds a gigantic robot to compete in a best-of-three fighting tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When the tournament abruptly ends amidst chaos, eccentric billionaire Eldridge Roundstone reveals he has been secretly funding both robotics teams, with the goal of developing unconventional weapons to combat an impending alien invasion. The doubts of the American Team’s leader, Lumin Mira, are erased when she witnesses the alien invaders arrive and use their towering beasts to destroy all who oppose them.
Roundstone welcomes the American and Japanese teams as well as their loved ones at his compound, named “Z,”  near Cupertino, California. There, he reveals his plan to attack the invaders using a robot army built with a hybrid of American and Japanese technology.
With new pilots trained and squadrons formed, the resistance begins. Despite winning some battles, the invaders regroup and start to converge on the compound in gigantic numbers. Knowing there’s little hope, Lumin hatches a desperate plan for a last stand.

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Five hours remained until the invaders reached the compound. Lumin was running on anxiety, caffeine, and little else. She met with Yasamin at Z-Command to watch the progress of the invaders through the radar terminal and run through some potential battlefield strategies.

Once Lumin was confident Yasamin and her team were ready for the operation, she left to check on Skip at the infirmary. She was pleased to find he was recovering quickly and was in good spirits. Although he had regained feeling in his legs they were still extremely weak and he wasn’t able to stand. He begrudgingly agreed to forgo the coming battle and told Lumin he’d help out Yasamin at Z-Command instead. Watching a nurse help Skip into a wheelchair as he winced with pain filled Lumin with so much hate for the invaders she could barely contain her rage.

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GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 47: F***ing maniac

THE STORY SO FAR:

Braggadocio between American and Japanese robotics engineers on social media escalates to a real-world face-off on a massive scale. Utilizing multi-million dollar budgets provided by corporate donors, each team begins building a gigantic robot to compete in a best-of-three fighting tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winning team will take home bragging rights and a billion dollars for the charities of their choosing.
The American Team’s maintenance crews rush to complete repairs to their robot before the final match. Fellow team member Skip Pantheon returns to southern Oregon in an attempt to shed some light on some secret technology the Japanese Team’s C.O.O, Kengi Sato, has lost in the desert. In the meantime, the American Team’s treacherous C.O.O, Ryan Lumb, moves to confront the team’s pilot, Lumin Mira, after her daring actions have forced him to abandon his plan to forfeit the remainder of the contest for self-serving business reasons. 

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Ryan Lumb’s constant stream of lies had fatigued him by the time the press conference ended. He managed to exclude Lumin from the Q and A with the spurious claim that she couldn’t be removed from Biz’s cockpit in a timely manner. Realizing they wouldn’t get any face-time with the tournament’s star, the media left in a huff.

Lumb waved away the dust from the fleeing white trucks of the news outlets and walked off the podium toward the hanger with clenched fists. Biz had already retreated inside and the retrieval team was busy pulling Lumin out of the ferrotank.

The Shuffle Pigs giggled and scurried away as Lumb walked in and stood silently on the hanger floor, waiting for Lumin to descend atop the cherry picker. She was smiling ear to ear, wrapped in a robe as the platform clunked to the concrete.

“Well, that was enjoyable,” said Lumin, tying her robe tighter around her waist.

Lumb was dead faced. “You look tired, Miss Mira.”

“Yeah well, you’d be tired too after climbing up a rope ladder attached to a 200 foot tall robot while trying not to be noticed by thugs with machine guns.”

“I’m actually impressed. Thanks for lifting that iron smelter off my useless security squad. Apparently, the fools were getting a little claustrophobic.”

“Hey, don’t be too upset with your men. Most people do what they’re told when confronted by a concussion cannon that could flatten a farmhouse. They huddled up nice and tight for me so Biz could clamp the dome over them.”

Lumb pinched his brow ridge and blew out a sharp breath. “I was ready to march over here and proceed to ruin the lives of you and everyone you know, but frankly, I’m exhausted. Seeing as I’d rather pull out my own toe nails than talk to you any further, let me end our conversation by saying good luck with your final match. I’ll be expecting your resignation as soon as the tournament has concluded.”

Lumin nodded with a grin as Lumb turned around and left; his toadies following close behind.

Lumin’s team flooded the floor as soon as Lumb’s fleet of black SUVs fled the grounds. Cheers swirled throughout the hanger.

“Stop! All this applause is going to give me a big head,” yelled Lumin.

“That noggin’s plenty big already,” said Spotswood as the applause steadily died down.

Katerina was nearly hopping with delight. “The look on those jack-booted thugs faces when you clamped that cup over them like potato bugs was amazing!”

Samuel patted her on the back. “Damn fine show out there, Lumin.”

“You guys kicked ass in getting Biz prepped for me in time,” said Lumin, “but if I have to climb that damn ladder again there’s going to be hell to pay.”

Yasamin walked up wearing her standard no-nonsense expression. “You probably noticed that despite our robot’s exterior sheen, BZ-X still needs significant work completed.”

“Yes…Biz was definitely a little wobbly. Is that a new tablet? I like the rose gold.”

Yasamin nodded and tapped her screen. “I know we’re celebrating having the chance to continue the tournament but if we don’t hurry to finish this laundry list of repairs we’re not going to be ready to fight.”

“Huh…well, don’t tell Lumb that,” said Lumin. She clapped her hands in the air. “Alright everybody, Yasamin says you all need to work harder, so let’s get back to it!”

Yasamin stepped in front of Lumin again. “You still—”

“I know, I know…I have a stack of forms on my desk a mile high. I’ll get to them as soon as I take a shower. Ten minutes in this suit is like 10 months in a rain forest. Ugh.”

Lumin managed to sift through all the work orders and whip the team’s various maintenance crews into shape by the time the moon lifted into the sky. Happy to have survived the day, she put her feet up on her desk and sighed. After leaning back in her chair she punched up Samuel’s phone number and put him on speaker.

“What’s up, Boss?” asked Samuel.

“The pinup of Jane Russell on Biz is a nice touch, Sam. I assume that was your doing?”

“Yeah, The Outlaw. Seemed appropriate to me,” said Samuel, happily.

“I’m looking at the most recent batch of progress reports from Yasamin. We’re in excellent shape. Tell everyone to stop working for the night and we’ll pick up again in the morning. I’m heading to my cot for a rest, but call me if the world resumes kicking our ass in the meantime.”

“Will do. Goodnight Lumin.”

“Goodnight, Sam.”

As Lumin trudged to her makeshift bed one of her pockets began buzzing. “Shit, now what?” She noticed it was Skip calling and quickly held the phone to her ear. “Skip! You were supposed to call me when you landed, you asshole!”

“Sorry about that Lumin, I immediately resumed my obsession as soon as I got back to the factory…things are a little crazy.”

“You already started in on Sato’s generator? What did you find?” asked Lumin as she put the phone on speaker and began putting on her pajamas.

Skip groaned. “I barely know where to start. I found the cube humming like usual when I got to the storage room in the factory where I had stowed it away. After rigging up a chain hoist to move the thing around easier I accidentally flipped it on its side. That’s when all hell broke loose.”

Lumin picked her phone back up. “What do you mean?”

“When I knocked the cube over the hum got louder and this green light started shining through the rubber sheathe. I think something inside of the generator must have been damaged when it fell from Sato’s ‘UFO.’ When I started jostling the thing around I must have reconnected whatever had come loose.”

Lumin sat on her cot. “Oh my god. Go on!”

“After powering up, the cube it self-righted on its own and fell out of my hoist. There’s some kind of gyroscopic mechanism inside the generator trying to keep it level at all times. Anyway, just as I was getting ready to cut through the rubber coating the cube’s drill started up.”

“Wait…drill?”

“Yeah. I nearly shit my pants. A small-scale, thermal stress-fracturing drill revved right out of the cube’s bottom panel and immediately started boring through the concrete floor. I got scratched up from the flying debris.”

“No way.”

“Yeah! The drill was fast, too. By the time I coughed all the lime out of my lungs it had already tunneled 20 feet straight down, past the foundation, straight into the earth below the factory. Then the cube stopped. Even the hum stopped. The thing went completely cold.”

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”

“The sound was horrendous but it didn’t last long. The drilling process sheathed off the shell of the cube half way down, destabilizing the tunnel as the covering tore away. Only seconds after the drill activated the hole had completely collapsed in on itself.”

“Why would it dig into the ground?”

“The cube was designed to hide itself—I would have never found it out in the desert if it hadn’t initially malfunctioned.”

Lumin nervously twirled her hair. “This is not at all what I was expecting to hear.”

“I’m not even to the weird part,” said Skip. “I immediately set about exhuming the bastard. I went and collected a bobcat with a crane attachment along with a half stick of dynamite from the old hanger. Sorry, but I kind of had to smash down a wall to get the equipment into the building.”

“Christ Skip! Well, as long as it wasn’t a load bearing wall I don’t care. Wait, did you say dynamite?”

“Um…yeah. I didn’t feel like digging and I assumed the cube was fairly sturdy so I decided to blow out most of the dirt in my way. Probably not the best idea but I was pretty fried by that time and not in my right mind.”

Lumin groaned. “I assume you still have all your limbs?”

“Yeah, as soon as I explained the situation to the sheriff’s department and made a few quick lies about building permits being stuck in transit everything calmed down. I still can’t believe the factory’s security guard ratted me out but I suppose I didn’t give enough warning that I’d be igniting explosives inside the building.”

“Yes, how short sighted of them,” said Lumin, in disbelief.

“Anyway, the dynamite worked like a charm but that room is never going to be the same. After clearing away the rest of the dirt with the bobcat I attached a winch to its crane arm and pulled what was left of the cube out of the hole.”

“Was the generator damaged?”

“Actually no…just a little burned and dirty. When it yanked it up I saw it was no longer a cube but a stainless steel cylinder.”

“I’m still trying to process how you thought setting off TNT inside the building was a good idea. You’re a fucking maniac.”

“It got the job done.”

Lumin groaned. “Is there more to this or I can I hang up now?”

“The rest is all gravy, don’t worry. The cylinder came up negative for excess radiation on my Geiger counter so I started carefully cutting the bitch open with a plasma torch.”

“What the hell does Sato have in there?”

“Well, most of the ‘generator’ is just a housing for the drill. Lumin…this isn’t a generator at all.”

Lumin sat back up on the cot. “What?”

“It’s just a battery. A state of the art, high-efficiency battery, but a battery none-the-less. This thing isn’t creating a single joule of electricity, just storing it. A lot of it.”

“A battery?”

“It’s a damned impressive battery. I’m guessing it’s beefy enough to output a decent amount of electrical power if it were hooked to a power station, but it wouldn’t last more than a couple weeks, if that.”

“So Kengi Sato’s just running some kind of massive energy scam?”

“Yeah, his free electricity initiative is definitely bullshit.”

Lumin squinted and shook her head. “This still makes no sense. Why is he burying all these batteries?”

“The first thing that popped into my mind when I started cutting the housing open was that I was dealing with some kind of a bomb. I hadn’t figured Sato for a terrorist but it was the only thing that made sense at the time. Thankfully, I was wrong. There’s nothing explicitly explosive about this device.”

“Now I know how the team must have felt when they thought I’d gone nuts during the last match. So, what do you think Sato is up to?”

“I was hoping you might have some idea.”

“No clue. Come back now. I miss you, you unhinged freak.”

Skip laughed. “I need to sleep, but I’m getting on the first plane tomorrow morning. How’s my baby?”

“Don’t worry, your hideous hatchback is fine. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, see you then.”

“Let’s not do the whole ‘no you hang up’ thing alright? I’m just going to hang up…now.”

“Alright, sleep tight Lumin.”

Lumin sighed, realizing how much Skip’s voice had soothed her after the day she just had—despite all the insanity he was spouting. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

“See you tomorrow.”

“Bye.”

“Bye!” Lumin forced herself to end the call and plopped down to her cot. “What the hell am I even doing?”


GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 48: Jared Leto

What is this? I started this “serial” as a way to bring some fun and immediacy to my writing routine. Each chapter is written, edited and posted in a single day (I will do some additional editing if I find a glaring mistake). Chapters are released on an irregular basis.

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 46: Hail Mary

THE STORY SO FAR:

Braggadocio between American and Japanese robotics engineers on social media escalates to a real-world face-off on a massive scale. Utilizing multi-million dollar budgets provided by corporate donors, each team begins building a gigantic robot to compete in a best-of-three fighting tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winning team will take home bragging rights and a billion dollars for the charities of their choosing.
With less than a week remaining before the last round of the tournament the American Team’s project leader and pilot, Lumin Mira, learns their project’s C.O.O., Ryan Lumb, is preparing to forfeit the final match.

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“Hey Katerina…yeah, not great…I’m on my way back to the hanger…listen, we may still have a chance to salvage the tournament but it’s going to be a real hail-Mary…make sure the team knows that if they decide to go along with this it could mean the ends of their careers…no one is required to participate, if anyone objects tell them to leave the hanger as soon as possible…Time is of the essence”

—-

Ryan Lumb climbed up to small platform that had been set up in front of the blimp hanger by his cronies. He slid behind a podium while a dozen members of the press hollered questions and held cameras aloft to capture him looking cocksure in his Brioni windowpane suit.

“Mr. Lumb, why did you call this press conference today?”

“What is the ‘big news’ you alluded to in your press release?”

“How do you feel about the public response to the brutal nature of these fights?”

“Why is the American Team called the ‘Shuffle Pigs?”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the press…I’ll get to your questions in time but first I must make an announcement. Please, take your seats.”

Begrudgingly, the journalists plopped into the folding metal chairs that had been set up for them. Ryan Lumb cleared his throat and adjusted his microphone. He peered over at his team, warily. The Shuffle Pigs had been cordoned into a special zone several hundred yards away, guarded by Lumb’s private security force to ensure they wouldn’t create a ruckus. Despite this, most of the team members wore smiles on their faces.

His employees’ tranquil expressions took Lumb by surprise. He had expected some consternation or at least some anxiety, considering he was about to railroad them off of a job they had worked so hard to complete. After shrugging off his concerns he cleared his throat, ready to begin.

“Esteemed members of the press, I’ve called you here today to announce—”

A massive thump echoing behind Lumb sent him ducking beneath the podium. When he rose back up he noticed something was diverting the press’ attention. He turned quickly and saw the massive front panels of the hanger starting to open slowly, creaking and scraping along debris-filled tracks. Biz was normally delivered to and from the arena through a hatch at the top of the structure—the front doors hadn’t been used in decades.

Lumb’s heart skipped a beat. “What the hell? No! Stop!” The press didn’t seem to care about his outburst. He put his hand over the mic and squinted inside the hanger as a strip of sunlight illuminated the armor plating of BZ-X. “Goddamit!”

The press left their seats and scrambled closer to the hanger. Lumb yanked up his phone and frantically called the leader of the security unit he had assigned to guard the building’s interior. When no one answered he hailed the squad leader watching over the Shuffle Pigs’ pen. “Stop them! Stop them from opening the hanger doors!”

“Roger,” said Lumb’s squad leader. He dashed toward the building in his sweat-stained black fatigues and disappeared through the steadily widening doors.

Lumb waited impatiently for a few seconds until calling the squad leader back. “Why are those doors still opening?”

“Sir, the entire squad units stationed inside appears to be trapped underneath what I can only assume is an upside-down smelter of some kind. I can hear them yelling but I can’t budge it.”

“Forget them! Close the doors! Close the doors!”

It was too late. BZ-X stepped out of the hanger into the light in all his glory. The robot was fully repaired, freshly shined and ready for action. Biz’s chest plate featured a new emblem directly across from the Shuffle Pigs symbol: a pinup painting of Jane Russell from Howard Hughes’ film “The Outlaw.”

Lumb watched in horror as Biz emulated a series of body building poses to the delight of the press while the Shuffle Pigs cheered and yelled from their corral.

As the media slowly returned their attention to Lumb he did his best to erase the dumb-struck look on his face. His excuse to forfeit the match no longer existed. Biz was obviously in peak condition. There was no choice remaining except to continue the tournament. Lumin had won.

“Mr. Lumb?” asked a journalist in the crowd. The media’s exhilaration was turning to confusion.

“Yes,” Lumb took a quick moment to straighten his jacket and run a hand through his slick hair. “I…I’ve brought you here today so that you may show the world that our robot BZ-X—or Biz as he is affectionately known—has been completely repaired, upgraded and primed for the final match.”

Although Lumb felt proud of his bullshitting prowess the press still seemed unsatisfied. He nervously continued his improv. “We…um…we want everyone to see that we’re ready to take on the Kyoto Team no matter what they throw at us!” He went pale as Biz lowered to a squat and extended a hulking hand right next to him. The robot turned its fist to the side and pushed a digit into the air, delivering a massive thumbs-up. The journalists laughed and applauded.

Lumb breathed a sigh of relief, thankful he hadn’t been smashed like an ant. “Yes…well…we wanted the press to have an opportunity to ask questions and snap some photos up-close and personal with our robot for the first time. It’s been long overdue.”

The press seemed sated by Lumb’s improvisational performance and began asking questions, most of which he easily fielded.

Lumin’s laughter fogged up her helmet as she floated within Biz’s ferrotank.


GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 47: F***ing maniac

What is this? I started this “serial” as a way to bring some fun and immediacy to my writing routine. Each chapter is written, edited and posted in a single day (I will do some additional editing if I find a glaring mistake). Chapters are released on an irregular basis.

GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS part 32: Loss

THE STORY SO FAR:

Braggadocio between American and Japanese robotics engineers on social media escalates to a real-world, multi million dollar face-off. Backed by corporate donors, each team begins building a gigantic robot to compete in a best-of-three fighting tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winning team will take home bragging rights and a massive purse for the charities of their choosing.
Despite a valiant effort the Americans have just lost the first round of the tournament. Their pilot, Lumin Mira, waits to be retrieved in the dark control bell of her powerless robot, unaware she’s still in danger.

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“The jaguar’s not moving! Why?” asked Dezzie, peering down from the Shuffle Pig’s box.

“That’s a good thing, Lynch,” said Samuel. “The match is over; maybe the pilot came to her senses.”

“I don’t think so,” said Dezzie. She watched Ako and Miu Dokujima sprint in front of Lumin’s robot, delaying Kokone’s next attack. “Go, blood sisters!” she shouted, to the confusion of her teammates.

————-

Ako and Miu quickly climbed up Biz’s limp body. They stood atop one of Biz’s thighs and waved their arms to get the attention of their sister. The jaguar’s humongous piston clanked; its killing blow delayed.

“Kokone! Stop this!” yelled Miu.

A loudspeaker in the jaguar’s mangled face activated, sending out a blare of feedback. “Ako, Miu, get out of the way!”

“We won’t let you kill their pilot!” screamed Ako.

————-

Richard squinted as he stuck his head out the door of the skybox. “What is that woman ranting about? I can barely hear her.” Only Kokone’s voice was audible as it pumped from her robot’s speakers.

“That thing could crush Lumin at any second,” said Katerina, her voice quivering. She stood up as if possessed, a sudden look of determination crossing her face. “That’s it, I’m going down there!” She stomped past Richard out the door.

“Katerina, it’s not safe,” said Richard. Katerina flipped him off and hurried down the concrete steps, out of sight.

————-

The jaguar’s speaker went quiet for several seconds before they crackled again. “Sisters, all we’ve worked for…all our ambitions…you’re destroying it all.” Kokone’s voice was intense, but subdued. “Mercy has made you weak, made us weak. We swore a pact to make the world pay for its crimes against our family…have you forgotten?”

“You’re right. We are weak, Kokone. We should have never let you push us toward a future only you wanted…a future full of suffering and death,” said Ako. “We followed you because we feared you. Now we beg you to stop because we love you!”

“You’re losing what little respect I still had for you, Ako,” said Kokone.

“Please Kokone…there’s other ways to show the world our strength, to restore our family name,” said Miu in desperation.

A dozen armed men in body armor stomped on to the field. Ako held out her hand, signaling them to stay back. The men halted, many of them seemingly relieved they wouldn’t have to confront a gigantic murderous robot.

————-

“Oh sweet Satan,” said Dezzie, looking at her phone. “Miu sent me an email a few minutes ago.”

“What is it?” asked Yasamin.

“It’s…everything,” said Dezzie, reading the email quickly. “The triplets have gone rogue. They planned to use Sato’s robot to tear out Biz’s nuclear power core. They were going to march the reactor into downtown Las Vegas and blow it up, dirty bomb style. Thousands would be killed.”

Richard–the designer of Biz’s nuclear core–felt his heart sink. He was speechless.

“Stop…” said Spotswood, before fainting. His anxiety had been running rampant throughout the entire match.

“Someone help him, for Christ’s sake,” said Samuel. “Richard, would it even be possible to blow up that thing?”

“Very,” Richard managed to say. “The explosion wouldn’t be equivalent to a true nuclear bomb, but the resulting fallout would be devastating.”

Samuel turned back to Dezzie. “Lynch, did Miu say if Sato knew about their plans?”

Dezzie shook her head. “Miu email says they kept Sato and the rest of the Kyoto Team in the dark about their plot. After she revealed her apprehensions to Ako she admitted to having cold feet as well. When they saw for themselves that this town wasn’t the den of evil Kokone had described they decided to play along, but not go through with their sister’s plan.”

“Wow, Kokone must have really overplayed the evil card if her sisters found Las Vegas worth saving,” said Samuel.

“Why didn’t Ako or Miu say anything until now?” asked Yasamin.

Dezzie put down her phone. “They were scared. The sisters really only have each other. I’m Miu’s only friend…literally…and we’re only pen pals.”

————-

Katerina forced herself down to the arena floor but couldn’t will herself to step a foot inside the dirt ring. “Lumin, please get up,” she muttered to herself, mesmerized by the gleaming black steel of the predator hovering over Biz.

“If you don’t move, you’ll be killed. I won’t stop…even for my sisters,” announced Kokone, leaning her Jaguar closer.

Lumin could hear a voice resonating in the ferrofluid tank, but couldn’t make out the words. “What the hell is going on out there?”

“We won’t move!” yelled Miu.

“Shikata ga nai. prepare yourself to die without honor just like the rest of these pigs,” said Kokone, coldly. She shut off her loudspeaker and fired her battering ram.

————-

“No!” yelled Richard, helplessly. None of the other engineers in the skybox dared to look at the scene below them.

————-

Kokone’s ram clunked lightly against Biz’s chest. Ako and Miu looked up in surprise as they cowered atop the robot’s leg. The jaguar’s menacing red eye flickered and went dark as the beast finally ran out of power. The hydraulic piston hadn’t been able to build up enough pressure before the robot’s emergency battery ran dry. The once intimidating machine slumped at its joints as it straddled over Biz. Kokone emerged from the hatch, infuriated. “I trusted you!” she screamed to her sisters below.

Ako looked up at her. “We’re not going to let you hurt anyone. The backup power supply you had us install in secret was never fully functional. You’re clever though, Kokone–when we realized you were rerouting your robot’s emergency life support system to give yourself a few more minutes to attack we knew we’d have to confront you face-to-face, no matter the cost.”

————-

“What are they saying?” asked Yasamin. “Is it over?”

“None of the mics on the field are picking up the conversation,” said Richard, cycling through an array of audio channels on the console.

“I’m going down there too!” said Dezzie, rushing out of her seat.

————-

“Traitors!” screamed Kokone. She opened her robot’s hatch and stepped out onto an awkwardly tilted platform, high above the ground. A look of tranquility spread across her face. “My own sisters have failed me…betrayed me. I suppose the time has come to meet Mother in hell.”

“Kokone, stop!” shrieked Miu.

“Neither of you deserve to be a Dokujima,” said Kokone, her tone frigid. “The family name dies with me.” She spread her arms out and stepped off the platform; plummeting 100 feet to the ground. Her body hit the dirt with a heavy thump.

“Oh my god,” said Katerina, holding her hands to her face. She jumped as Dezzie put her arm around her. “Dez!”

“I’m going out there…you coming?” asked Dezzie.

Katerina shook her head, looking pale. “My legs are jello.”

“It’s okay, stay here,” said Dezzie, forcing a smile. She ran out onto the arena floor, past the stunned security officers.

A collective gasp rattled through the crowd after Kokone jumped. “It’s all part of the show, folks!” said the Fight Master, his voice wavering. “Wow, what a dramatic ending! Everyone, give the Kyoto Team a round of applause to congratulate them on their first victory.” The nervous audience clapped halfheartedly as the security forces and paramedics finally rushed to Kokone’s aid. Ako and Miu climbed off of Biz and lowered near their sister, weeping inconsolably. An ambulance arrived and stopped beside the triplets. Kokone was wheeled inside on a stretcher and spirited out of the arena, quickly and quietly.

Ako and Miu were clinging to each other as Dezzie hurried up to them. She hugged them tightly. “It’s going to be okay, you did the right thing! You saved so many people today.” The sisters didn’t respond.

————-

Several minutes later a retrieval team pulled Lumin from Biz’s innards. Her legs were barely strong enough to hold her upright but besides exhaustion and a sore neck she was mostly unscathed. Samuel and Yasamin were waiting for her on the cherry picker. They wrapped a towel around her shoulders as the platform slowly lowered.

“Will someone please tell me what’s happening?” asked Lumin.

Yasamin was busy on her tablet again. “I’ll tell you everything when we’re back in the locker room.”

“The hell you will,” protested Lumin. The crowd had cheered when Lumin emerged from Biz but they quickly slipped back into an uncomfortable silence. Droves of people were filing out of the arena. “Something’s very wrong here. Out with it, Yasamin.”

“Just a second,” said Yasamin, tapping furiously.

“No need to worry folks. I think we’ve all been put through the ringer tonight! What a spectacle!” announced the Fight Master. “The Kyoto Team now leads one match to none! A hearty thanks to the pilots and their teams for an amazing show. The next event is in one week…be there!”

Lumin swallowed her frustration with Yasamin. “I was so close to pulling it off,” she said after taking in a long breath of fresh air. “Even after all their dirty tricks, we nearly won.”

“You were incredible out there,” said Samuel with a reassuring smile.

“Lumin, I’m so sorry…I was trying to get some answers from Kengi Sato,” said Yasamin. “Kokone Dukojuma was getting ready for another round of attacks after the horn sounded. It didn’t matter that the match was over, she wasn’t going to stop hammering you with that battering ram until you were dead.”

“What?” said Lumin, shocked. “I thought the triplets were just spewing trash talk before the match, pro wresting style!”

“Apparently not,” said Samuel. “Ako and Miu had a change of heart and stopped their sister from killing you. They got between you and the ram, delaying her attack until the jaguar’s power finally ran out. They saved your life.”

Lumin was dumbstruck. She looked at the ambulance leaving the arena. “Where’s Kokone?”

Yasamin looked up from her tablet. “She either fell from her robot, or she jumped.”

“She jumped,” said Samuel. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

“Jesus” said Lumin as the cherry picker lowered them to the ground. “Is she alive?”

“We haven’t got word yet,” said Samuel.

Lumin shook her head. “I can’t believe she’d try to kill me.”

“There’s more…much more,” said Yasamin. “I’m setting up a sit-down meeting with Sato as we speak. For now though, let’s get to the locker room and I’ll fill you in on the details.”

“Is this going to delay our next match?” asked Lumin.

“There might not be another match,” said Yasamin.


GIANT FREAKIN’ ROBOTS Part 33: Control the narrative

What is this? I started this “serial” as a way to bring some fun and immediacy to my writing routine. Each chapter is written, edited and posted in a single day (I will do some additional editing if I find a glaring mistake). Chapters are released on an irregular basis.