You know, I’ve been calling the characters with television sets (and not flatscreens, either) for heads “robots.” But, in the next scene, with two naked TV Heads having sex, they appear pretty much organic, except for the heads. Plus, they are having sex, which strikes me as an un-robotic activity.
“I want you deep, baby!” the female of the pair says.
The male, who is behind her, says, “I’m trying. I’m . . .” Then, an image that looks like a bloody rhinoceros tusk appears on the screen of his TV head, then blinks out to a phosphorescent dot.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“Is it the new leg again?” she asks. “I swear, their surgeons are butchers. Do you want me to get on top?”
“I’m fine, it’s just . . . jetlag. Let’s try again when we’re back in our own bed, shall we?”
“Of course, IV. Things will be better once we’re away from this godforsaken flock.”
The male called “IV” is standing now, walking away from the bed. “Don’t talk about them like that. They’re our allies.”
“No, they’re our customers. Highest bidders in The War of Good Versus Good.”
“You think there’s something good about what those animals did to my friends? Did to them while they slept?”
“IV, please, it’s just—”
“Your Majesties,” a reptilian servant in some sort of formal livery interrupts. He resembles a miniature T-Rex. “I’m so sorry to intrude, but Prince Robot IV has a gentleman caller. He said his business was . . . sensitive.”
A blonde man in black garb sits in a chair in what may be a den of some sort. He has wings, but these appear to be more bat-like than we’ve seen so far. If you’re keeping track, we’ve seen bird-like, insect-like, and now . . . bat-like wings. The man is preoccupied with staring down at a device in his hands that may as well be an iPhone. It’s a familiar scene.
On the wall of this room are what appear to be hunting trophies of some sort. Antlers and horns, at any rate, although from what we’ve already seen, these didn’t necessarily come from animals.
“May I help you?” Prince Robot IV asks. You see why I referred to them as robots before?
“Hold on,” the man says, not looking up from his device. “This app was trying to auto-update and now my whole thing is frozen. Are you even getting a signal in here?”
“I’m not sure if you were briefed on this,” Prince Robot IV says, “but I’ve just returned from a two-year tour of hell, so—” The prince enters the room from a curved staircase. He’s dressed now, in that archaic-looking military uniform, the long tailed coat with the broad fringed shoulders, a sash, wide belt and high boots.
“Yeah, I was at your big medal ceremony yesterday. Marching band sounded like shit.”
The newcomer manages to get out of his chair to greet the prince.
“Special Agent Gale, Secret Intelligence,” he says by way of introduction. “Sorry, am I supposed to genuflect or something? I’m not up on my royalist protocols.”
“Look, what is this all about?”
Special Agent Gale projects an image of Alana on the wall. “Her,” he says.
“Should I know who that is?”
“Probably not. Name’s Alana, drafted after she flunked out of State. I overlapped with her for six month of Basic. Struck me as dim, impulsive, kind of a slut. She was reprimanded for “abject cowardice” her first time seeing action and later redeployed to the planet Cleave.”
“Holy shit, we’re still posting people to Cleave? I thought that was just an urban legend they used to scare new recruits.”
“We control the vast majority of its gunpowder fields, but the moonies are threatening another land grab to the South and blah, blah, blah.”
Gale now projects a full-face image of Marko. In the picture, Marko looks beaten up. His left eye is swollen shut and there is blood on his forehead.
“Anyway,” Gale continues. “This ugly fuck is a Wreath foot soldier we know only as Prisoner #9763572. Eighteen months ago, he surrendered to coalition forces on a Cleave battlefield. Claimed to be a “conscientious objector.”
“Doesn’t sound like a moony. Spy?”
“That was our thinking, so we transferred him to a detention facility . . . where he was guarded by none other than Private First Class Alana. Twelve hours later, they had both disappeared.”
“So the moony kidnapped her?”
“We hoped. But then three months ago, an ATM camera on civilian turf caught this image.”
This new image shows a very pregnant Alana and a hooded Marko walking together.
“Pregnant?” says Prince Robot IV. “I didn’t even know your people could mate with their kind, much less reproduce.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard about female soldiers of ours being forced to give birth to half-breeds in the rape camps on Wreath, but those things usually died within a year. Can’t imagine our turncoat’s love child will live much longer in the wild.”
“Love child? Surely, he forced himself on her.”
Special Agent Gale zooms in on the image of the couple.
“Take a look at their hands. Matching rings. Apparently, it’s a tradition on Wreath. A wedding tradition.”
“You’re saying she willingly laid down with one of those monsters? Why?”
“We don’t know, but your father would like you to deal with the situation before anyone finds out.”
“The King sent you? But . . . I’ve already served my time! I just survived one of the worst sneak attacks in military history!”
Agent Gale says, “And yet, surviving isn’t exactly winning.”
The two characters step outside on the railed balcony. As he stands at the rail, Gale says, “I imagine His Highness wants to show the current administration that the Robot Kingdom can still pull its weight and deliver some righteous vengeance when the need arises.”
“Vengeance for what?”
“Alana and her beau apparently slaughtered a team of our best MPs earlier tonight, including one of your Barons.”
“I don’t understand. I told my parents I wanted to start a family this year.”
“Yes, well. None of my business, of course. The HMS Skyscraper departs for Cleave in the morning. Happy Hunting.” And with this, Special Agent Gale jumps over the rail and flies off on his bat-like wings. From a distance, they might even be considered dragon-like.
NARRATOR: From my very first day, I was pursued by men. All of them tried to hurt me, but only one managed to break my heart. Sorry, getting ahead of myself.
And, before I get too far ahead of myself, I’m going to halt our comic commentary track here. It’s apparent that the search for our young lovers—and new parents—is about to be intensified. A new character, Prince Robot IV, is introduced. He is obviously battle-weary, perhaps suffering from PTSD, but still has something to prove to his father, the King. The search for Alana and Marko will be a personal one for him.
Special Agent Gale comes across as a disrespectful, oily bastard. We probably haven’t seen the last of him either.
What’s going to happen next? I don’t know. And I kinda like that.