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30th April
posted by amber

Robotic Vampire Cats in Space

The robotic cats have escaped from the cargo hold where we’d isolated them and I think our mission may be over before we even make planet-fall. I’m in Crew Cabin One, alone. I’ve pushed all the mattresses against the door, but that’s more for my nerves than for any real protection. If they can claw through metal, they sure as hell can claw through cheap foam.

Jerome was pierced in our first battle with the cats, when we lured them into the cargo hold with holographic images of the aliens, and he was pierced again today. I think enough blood was taken to kill him. He certainly looked pale and lifeless as I ran by him on my way to this cabin. Amilie and Dougal were right behind me, but I waited a good ten minutes for them, hearing awful caterwauling from the corridor, and human screams. Then I saw the cat hoard and I had to slam the door shut.

Naturally, the coms are out. The cats are smart enough to chew through the wires.

It’s ironic that Jerome is the first of us to be killed (probably). He’s the one who changed the cats’ programming.

I blame boredom. He said he wanted to make them more lively, but the rest of us are pretty sure he wanted to stage cat fights for the military escort and earn some air force rations through betting.

And where, you might ask, are our military escort during this crisis? Locked in the Strategic Pod, ready for an Abort Mission protocol. Before the coms went out, they told us they were prepared for all sorts of emergencies, but an attack by small feline robots of our own devising was not one of them. Only hard weapons capable of damaging the ship would have any effect on the cats, and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, I realize. Still, if we had to bring soldiers along, I’d have expected them to be more resourceful.

I’ve been pondering the problem myself. Jerome was the robotics expert – the cats were his, and the spy flies. I’m just the xenobiologist, along to deal with the visuals and skin samples brought back by the spy flies and eventually the body fluid samples the cats were to collect, but I learned a few things about robotics. We are all expected to have 2 or 3 specialities on this mission. Our motto is ‘Redundancy can mean survival.’

Perhaps literally, this time.

I was keeping a supply of spy flies in here, to tinker with while I tried to find a way to neutralize the cats. Jerome mocked me. He said nothing could be done, the cats’ programming was contaminated and the only solution was to get them into the exhaust port and vent them. He thought we could use alien holograms again, but I was pretty sure they wouldn’t fall for that twice. After all, he designed them to learn.

But he also designed them to play. They may have become little articulated metal psychotic devils who attack and sample everything that moves, but they also took the time, I noticed, to go after the cleaning rats while they were chasing us.

So I’ve been glueing coloured wings onto the spy flies and programming them to fly to the exhaust port. I have about 100 flies left to do and I hope I’m done in time. I can hear the cats clawing through the walls.

This is my last story of the original Story 365 Project. I wanted to write a story using some of the themes I’ve enjoyed the most over the past year, so I came up with the title and carried on from there. Turns out, the cats aren’t cute and cuddly, but as an author you have to follow the story you’re given.

I’ll be announcing a contest soon, and I’ll be continuing with stories, poems and other daily postings on this blog.  And please – keep sending me first line suggestions!

1 Comment

  1. mary bond

    Congratulations Amber for a task well done. Like this last story combining cats and science fiction.

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