With the transformation from engineers to pilots, the ladies must fight the memories of their ancestors in order to keep their focus on finding the defensive weaponry that goes with their bots. The city holds the key to the weapons, but the bots are on the outside of the gates and the caches are on the inside.
Each ancient pilot knew where the weapons had been buried, and those memories are now pressed into service as the engineers break through the city gates to get what they need to save their own people.
The halls were empty. The halls should not have been empty. Lido looked around as she headed back to Cio. There should have been someone watching the door. Back home the alarm would have sounded.
She opened the com link. “Does anyone else think it is creepily silent?”
Duel piped up, “Yes, and I just remembered that I left my laundry in the washing station. This isn’t going to end well for my favourite shirt.”
Lido chuckled. “Thanks. But where do you think they are?”
Corbyn murmured, “I don’t think they consider us a threat. We are their own kind, more or less.”
Nyvett’s voice came in. “Don’t get me started on that.”
Lido was relieved that no one considered the genetic alterations normal.
Xaia muttered, “Why did the first man we met be him? That mayor has a lot to answer for.”
They chuckled softly through their links and each made their way to their respective bots.
When she finished her walk in the dimness, aided by the lens on the headset that she wore, Lido stopped at the door to Cio’s lift and tried to open it.
It was locked.
“Hey, they locked us out of the bots.” Hima was laughing.
Lido sighed in relief. It was good to hear Hima laughing again. Her previous surliness wasn’t normal.
“I guess we are going to have to give up.” Lido spoke while she opened the electric panel and started to rewire the door.
The other ladies laughed.
Lido’s door opened. “I’m in.”
Nyvett chuckled. “Me too.”
Xaia snickered. “I am in the lift and nearly to Ai’s command deck.”
Corbyn muttered, “Of course you are. I am in.”
Hima sighed. “There. In.”
Duel grunted, “Last but not least. In.”
Lido stepped into Cio’s lift. “Permission to come aboard.”
Cio’s voice came to her. “Granted. I thought you did very well.”
“Thank you. It appears that the city has forgotten that our mothers and grandfathers designed this facility. We were taught how to take it apart and put it together before we were ten.”
“It seems they have underestimated you.”
“They have rotted from the inside. I swear, they have done the enemy’s work for them. By the way, did they come and get the guy from you?”
“Yes. They took him away, apologizing to him the entire time. I do not believe that they have any interest in the survival of Bot City or the valley.”
Lido got out on the command deck and checked a few things that her ancestor had shown her. She grinned. “Nice. A full kit of tools and small arms.”
“How did you know it was there?”
“I am your pilot now. What he knew, I now know.”
She closed the panel and reached for another, getting the med kit.
“What are you doing now?”
“I am going out on your arm for genetic samples from our prisoner. Even if he is gone, the BO will remain.”
“That is... practical. Why do you want a sample?”
“Because we haven’t seen anything like him before, and when we get home, the biologists can examine this in detail.”
“Why would they want to?”
“If we can’t finish this quickly, we might need to look into a more long-term weapon.”
He opened the hatch in his chest and brought his palm right up to it.
“Thank you for the assistance, Cio.” She stepped out, and it didn’t take her long to see the smears of oil from his skin as well as the pools of sweat on the palm. Lido took out the kit and got some swabs in tubes.
She had four samples and she fastened them together before tucking them safely in the kit.
“Right. Coming in again. Time to join the others.”
Lido stepped into the bot and stowed the kit while the other bots began moving.
She settled in the pilot’s cradle, and she sighed happily as she got control and finally knew how to move him. “Right, we are going to get your weapons.”
Cio was surprised. “You know where they are?”
“Oh yes. My ancestor’s memory was most forthcoming.”
She took a step forward with the muscle memory of a professional pilot.
“Where are we going?”
She grinned. “We are breaking in to the city. Everything we need is inside.”
Cio sounded a little bewildered, “This is not how I imagined the trip to the city going.”
Lido grinned and joined the others in the walk toward the huge city gates. Breaking in was definitely a change in plan.