Looks like I claim the first entry here this year (again).
held up the newspaper and pointed to an article on the front page. That bastard Tokugawa has gone too far this time! he yelled. I'm gong to give him a piece of my mind!
You'd better not! Astro yelled back. Every time you go on a tirade like that you cause millions of Yen worth of collateral damage to innocent bystanders. And you wonder why Tawashi has a price on your head?
It's not my fault!, the red and blue robot yelled back. Anybody stupid enough to be near that greedy SOB deserves what they get coming to them. You'd better not be thinking about stopping me, or you'll be taking collateral damage!
Astro stood between Atlas and the door. You have to get by me in order to get out of this room.
Not really, Baka!, Atlas laughed as he blasted a new hole in the ceiling.
happily rode his skateboard and watched the crowd gather in the large field about a block away from his favorite playground. The large lot had been vacant for as long as he'd remembered, and he and his buddies had often played make believe war games among the large piles of dirt and ruts in the ground left behind by the heavy machinery that had dug up the place and then left. Now the machines were back, along with a group of loud people holding signs. Toshi kicked his board towards the edge of the park where he could get a better view of the confrontation across the street, just as a bunch of police cars pulled up with their sirens running.
Break it up! a robot cop yelled through a bullhorn. This is private property, and your group doesn't have a permit for this gathering!
Most of the crowd slowly backed away from the site to regroup across the street inside the playground, where they continued to wave their signs and shout obscenities. Ieyasu
Tokugawa smiled as the crowd left his property. Can't you get them to shut up? he asked Delta, the leader of the robot police squad.
I'm sorry Tokugawa San, Delta replied, The park across the street is public property, and as long as the crowd doesn't break any laws they have every right to be there. So long as they don't throw anything heavier than words at you, I'm afraid I can't do a thing to remove them.
hovered over the scene out of sight and waited. He was tempted to egg the crowd on, but there were too many of the police force present. He was very happy to see that most of the protesters hadn't left, but had merely retreated across the street where they could still make their presence known. Suddenly he got an idea, he produced a cell phone from his pocket and made a quick call to a hacker friend who owed him a favor.
Toshi skated over to a group of people who were loudly shouting obscenities at the workers across the street. What's going on? he asked one of them.
You'd better go home kid, one of them told him, Things here might get ugly.
Why?, the boy asked.
That property across the street belongs to the Tokugawa corporation, a well dressed individual holding a sign told him. That site is where they intend to drill an experimental well to tap into oil or gas reserves deep underground. They want to make use of hydraulic fracking to release those deposits. The technique is suspected to be unsafe in areas where seismic instability is present, pretty much anywhere on these islands. Our group has been trying to stop them, but their permit for this site was finally granted despite our legal fight in the courts.
Delta felt his radio buzzing, and he answered the call. After a few minutes communicating with HQ, he motioned to his squad. We've been recalled! he yelled out.
We're needed elsewhere! The robot squad quickly got back into their squad cars and left, over the protests of Ieyasu Tokugawa to the squad leader.
Tokugawa's own security force managed to keep the protesters on their side of the street, and the drilling machinery started up. Toshi kicked his skateboard away from the protesters and took the long route to the rear of the lot where he and his friends had used to play. He knew where a tunnel came to the surface, and was pleased to find that the entrance was still open. The boy used his cellphones screen as a flashlight and made his way through the passageway to get closer to the action. He was curious just what kind of drilling the group was protesting against.
Atlas laughed as the cops withdrew. Looks like my hacker friend managed to get Delta's group distracted by a false alarm, he chuckled. They should be gone long enough for me to shut this operation down!
Toshi came out of the tunnel about a hundred meters away from where a large boring machine had just started drilling a vertical shaft into the ground. He could feel the vibrations in the earth as the heavy weight rose and fell, hammering the drill head into the ground.
Across the street, a few of the protesters had become emboldened by the retreat of the police, and they crossed the street armed with rocks and bottles. Tokugawa's men used their personal shields to ward off the missiles being thrown at them, and they fought back with tasers and clubs.
Looks like you guys could use some help!, Atlas said, as he fired his own lasers into the mix. One of the protesters kept in the background, and busied himself by siphoning a bottle full of gasoline out of the tank of a parked car. He stuffed a rag into the bottle as a fuse and then wedged it into the back of the drill rig without being noticed. After touching a lighted match to the rag, the man ran back towards the crowd on the park side of the street.
Atlas concentrated his laser fire on the private police force, thereby leaving the way open for the protesters to advance on the workers. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Toshi. The boy was playing sidewalk superintendent, watching the drilling operation. Suddenly the Molotov cocktail that had been planted near the rig's gas tank exploded, sending a huge fireball into the sky. The blast shifted the rig's center of gravity, and it began to topple over, just as the saboteur had intended.
Toshi heard the blast and fell towards the ground from the vibration. He looked up to see the machine falling in his direction. The boy tried to run, but he wasn't fast enough.
Atlas was at first pleased at the work of sabotage, and then horrified. While he often bragged about his pleasure in seeing the 'flesh bags' destroy themselves, the sight of the nine year old kid about to be pulverized by the falling derrick caused a reflex reaction in his autonomic nervous system. Atlas's first instinct was to use his surge cannons to blast the machine into smithereens, but that only sent a tidal wave of metal shrapnel towards the youth who was now spread eagle on the ground, in the way of the blast. Atlas rocketed towards the ground, placing himself in the middle as a shield. He lay down on top of the boy as a ton of metal bounced off of his back.
arrived on site just as the delta force returned from the wild goose chase that Atlas had them sent on. He helped the police search through the wreckage of several machines that had been damaged, some by robotic serge cannon blasts, undoubtedly from Atlas, and a few home made explosives rigged up by the protesters. His eyes spotted an IR signature underneath a rather large pile of metal from a wrecked drill rig, and he quickly grabbed at the steel, tossing the heavy junk out of the way. After a few minutes of digging though the wreckage, he came upon Atlas's body.
The red and blue battle bot, slowly picked himself up. You OK kid? he asked placing a finger gently on the boy's neck to feel for a pulse.
Toshi coughed a few times, and wiped the blood from his face that had been dribbling from his nose. I think so, he said, looking up into Atlas's face. Arigatōgozaimashita, you saved my life!, he sobbed grabbing Atlas in a bear hug.
Looks like the bit pain in the ass is a hero for a change, Inspector Tawashi laughed. I guess we won't be hauling him off to jail for a change.
Ieyasu Tokugawa glared at the inspector. Aren't you going to arrest that damn robot!
Not today, Tawashi told him. I'm not going to put a hero in jail, the press would be all over me if I did.
He's no hero, the industrialist argued. Atlas was preventing my own police force from protecting the workers from the protesters. How do you think they managed to plant a bomb on that rig?
Atlas wasn't anywhere near the rig that nearly fell on me, Toshi yelled. And if it hadn't been for him, I'd have been crushed!
Let's get you out of here, Astro told Atlas, before you do something stupid.
I feel like a fool, Atlas laughed. I came here to help those people stop the destruction of this country by greedy polluters such as Tokugawa, and instead of my making the usual martyr of myself, I've become a hero like you. Baka!
Yeah, well you did pick the right day for it, Astro laughed.
Atlas face palmed. Yeah, I did, didn't I?