Chapter Fourteen- Rodrick the Robot
Kit’s face paled, as she leapt in front of her Father, ready to defend him from the Bot crouching in the corner of their prison.
Every single cell in her body ached to fly across the room and press herself into the wall, as far as physically possible away from the creature she had learnt to fear. But her Father was so weak... she didn’t want to risk moving him, so she was forced to stand her ground.
“Oh, and I suppose you’re going to start panicking now, just because I’m a robot” it said, it’s voice low and sad (reminding Kit of the voice her Father used for the character of Eeyore, when he read Winnie the Pooh to Kit, before she learnt to read for herself), “Honestly its prejudice! I bet you believe all the stereotypes! I bet you think I’m on their side!” it moaned.
“Well aren’t you on their side?” Kit demanded confusedly.
“I wouldn’t be in this Cell idiot child! I didn’t ask for this, but I was programmed as a renegade. I never had a choice. Could of had a nice comfy job, working for the Principals, but once I was programmed to think, they wouldn’t take me! I had to rebel and they’re still punishing me! It’s not fair...” It paused it’s self-absorbed rant to glance at Kit, who was still crouched defensively in front of her Father, “Are you deaf? I said I’m a rebel, you must now I won’t hurt you!”
“The last group of rebels I met, tried to kill me” Kit replied, deadpan.
“I couldn’t attack even if I wanted to, look!” The robot exclaimed, shifting slightly to reveal the coils of thick chains, binding him tightly to the wall. “Star Metal, not even the strongest Robot can break it!” He explained bitterly, “It’s against my rights keeping me chained here...” he became incomprehensible as he began to cry nosily.
Kit sighed and began tearing strips off her clothing to bandage her father’s wounds, doing her best to tend to him and ignore the robots increasingly loud wailing.
Shaun’s face looked less pained, and his sleep was growing more peaceful as he breathing eased much to Kit’s relief. A twitchy guard, had shoved a tray of food and water into the cell, so she now had something to cool her father’s fevered brow and moisten his cracked lips. She saved the food, until he awoke, taking none for herself.
Once her father was stable, Kit began again to take notice of the robot, still sobbing noisily in his corner. Her mind flashbacked to how Tarquin had used a deactivated Robot to get them out of the van and she began to realise that even a robot was better than no ally at all.
“Hey, it’s okay... um... what’s your name?”
“Roderick” the robot sniffled.
“It’s okay Roderick, stop crying, if we help each other maybe we can escape.” Kit reasoned cheerfully.
“No we can’t” Roderick replied flatly, “I’ve been here for ten years and seen human’s come and go, but I’ve always remained. The take you human’s out and execute you, when they grow bored, but the wont decommission me, oh no, I won’t die of natural causes, I’ll just remain here for eternity. You should be grateful that you get to die!”
Kit blanched at the thought of execution, but refused to dwell on it, instead replying swiftly,
“Actually, Roderick, I was thinking of a less painful way to escape than... um... death”
“Ha escape! Don’t get me started! Even if I miraculously break these chains, I’ll have to get down the corridor without the guards seeing me, and even then, I’ll have to get into the ventilation shaft without making noise, and even then...”
With a hidden smile, Kit made careful mental notes, as he told her how not to escape.
The human troops outside the castle were highly disciplined, remaining on guard, in formation and almost completely still for the three hours they had been waiting for Kit, only occasionally indulging in aggressive stares at the robots impassively guarding the castle gates.
Tarquin was ruining this professional impression, by twitching, pacing and cursing, constantly looking at his watch, and shaking like a nervous greyhound before a race.
For the umpteenth time, Trixie firmly gripped Tarquin’s arm, hissing,
“Stand still, will you!”
“It’s been three hours and twenty four minutes Trixie!” he replied, his eyes wild and panicked, “They could be doing anything in their...”
“You have to learn to trust Kit, Tarkie! She isn’t as sweet and helpless as she looks”
“I can’t take it, I’m going in after her!” He hissed,
“Think for a second idiot boy! If you go in there now, fighting will break out, and we’re not likely to win! It doesn’t matter what happens to Kit, if everyone else dies!”
“But it does, Trix” he moaned anguished
“You really love her don’t you?” she asked curiously, blinking at him.
“Trixie, time and place!”
“... but you have to be clear headed about this!”
“Neil” Tarquin replied quietly.
Trixie glared at him and balled her fists. They didn’t talk about Trixie’s boyfriend Neil, who’d been killed on a mission seven months earlier, ever. Because she’d rather be damned than cry.
“If it was Neil in there, wouldn’t you go after him?”
Hissing with fury, Trixie grabbed her friends ear and pulled it painfully close to her mouth.
“Okay, Idiot, you can do it, but you will listen to me and you will do it properly! I’m not losing anyone today”
Sp- So what’s Trixie’s plan for getting into the castle without a fight (or at least losing a fight) ? Negotiation, force or suberterfuge? Just Tarquin, Tarquin and Trixie, a small team or the whole group? How, when, what, where?