Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 25: Hidden Corner

This entry is part 25 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

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Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 25: Hidden Corner

Christy stared at Kevin from the edge of a row of shelves, her expression innocent. She was dressed in her coveralls again, as if expecting to work more. “Whatcha doing?”

He stared right back, horrified to have his corner discovered so soon. “Fixing stuff. Why aren’t you upstairs?”

Christy slipped into the old swiveling office chair he’d just been sitting in. “Too loud. They scared away all the fairies. It smells better down here than before.”

Yes, it did, now that he thought about it. Come to think of it, the broken cleaning bot would be a nice addition to the house. Having only the one meant that not everything could be cleaned as it should. Maybe he should switch projects.

He picked up the house-bot. It was as heavy as the yard-bots, but not nearly as old. Maybe he would have better luck with it.

He set it down and gathered the tools to the new table. He went to sit down to start work when Christy squealed, “I’m sitting here.”

Kevin didn’t need his heart jumping like that. He’d completely forgotten she was there.

“I need the chair. Go find your own,” he said as he pulled the chair to the new active workbench.

Christy jumped off as the chair swiveled. “That’s okay. There are more comfortable chairs.”

She raced off to the front of the basement, only to shout a short time later, “Where are all the chairs?”

Kevin sighed as he worked to open up the house-bot to get to the information port. “We sold them, remember?”

“What am I supposed to sit in?”

“How about the table in your room or the back yard?” And if she suggested he have tea with her, he would tell her to get Nanny-Bot to do it with her.

With the robot hooked up to his computer, he started the diagnosis. Oops, this was the one he took the battery unit from. He would have to reinstall it to go any further.

Metal hit the floor, startling his heart beating fast again. Kevin swiveled around, to find Christy setting up a foldable chair. The feet scraped and squeaked across the concrete floor as it settled.

“What are you doing?” he demanded.

“Going to watch,” she said as she finished.

“This is boring. You’ll have more fun with your dolls,” Kevin said, swiveling back to the bench.

“Hmm. Yeah.”

He heard her jump off the chair. Soon, her tiny footsteps were running up the stairs.

Kevin sighed, glad to finally have some peace. In a short time, he had the battery unit reinstalled. Then he proceeded with the diagnostic.

“Error 296. Exception 32.” Kevin stared at the screen, wondering what that meant. Why didn’t they just say it? Now he would have to find something to decipher what it meant.

They really should make some of this stuff self-explanatory. Sure, he found the information online fairly fast, but he shouldn’t have to look this up. How to fix it, yes, but not necessarily what it was. He decided right then and there that in his programming he would make the errors more self-explanatory.

He worked away at cleaning the joints of the appendages that could cause the error. A lot of dust and hair, but that was to be expected. They really should have been cleaned it before, just to see if the problem was that easy.

Footsteps bounded down the stairs. Small ones, giving him warning about the source. He turned in time to see Christy arrive with three of her dolls. She jumped into the chair and started setting them out on one of the tables.

“What are you doing?” Kevin asked.

“Not boring stuff.” She then proceeded to set up a bizarre tea party taking place in a mysterious cavern of ‘glittering and metal things.’

Kevin sighed, turning back to his own project. At least she was entertaining herself. Too bad it was so hard to concentrate on his own work with her running commentary going on at the next table about the gossip surrounding the court of the Shadow King and Queen. How did she come up with this stuff?

The door at the top of the stairs slammed open.

“It’s raining now! Are you happy?” Sean called down.

“Play in the garage!” Christy shouted back.

“What are you doing down there?” Sean shouted.

“Having a tea party. What else?” She returned to the dolls, using one of Kevin’s parts as a cup. “Here, have some dandelion tea, Princess Serena. Did you hear Prince Rupert was caught kissing a fairy? Pure scandal!”

More footsteps down the stairs, and this time Kevin could tell they belonged to more than one person. He wanted to bang his head on the table when Greg came around the corner of the shelf row to ask, “What are you doing down here? Where did all this come from?”

“I’m trying to work here,” Kevin said without turning his chair around.

“And I’m trying to have a tea party here,” Christy said, sounding indignant in only a way she could.

Oh, nice. The errors were starting to clear. For good measure, he blew air across the electronics to clear anything that might have lodged inside. Time to see if it worked.

A hard thump, and then something rolled. Kevin swiveled around, only to find one of the robots rolling under a table.

“Oops.” Greg scrambled after it.

“Don’t you guys have something else to do?” Kevin demanded.

“I told you, it’s raining outside.” Sean picked up one of the tools. “Where did you get this stuff?”

“Put it down. I need to know where everything is.” He turned back to the robot as Greg set the robot back in place. With a press of a button, the lights behind the eyes turned on. A good sign! Now to use his computer to send specific testing commands to it. To see how it reacted.

“Isn’t this some of Mom’s stuff?” Sean asked. “And Dad’s tools?”

“Oh man, you are going to get in trooooouble,” Greg said.

Oh, how his head wanted to meet the table.



Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

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Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Series Navigation<< Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 24: The Garage SaleSummer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 26: No Peace >>

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  1. […] Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 25: Hidden Corner by J.A. Marlow ~ @jamarlow_sf ~ Between 500 and 1000 words ~ Science Fiction ~ Serial […]

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