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ALPHA Chapter One - (post two)
The young men continue their work in silence, each thinking his own thoughts. After awhile Crescent poses a question.
"I wonder..." he begins, "I wonder how many of us there are against how many of them?
Arrow and Dart shrug their shoulders. They don't want to be drawn into yet another pointless conversation but Arrow knows the answer to this question and after only a few seconds he decides to share this knowledge with his friends.
"At the last count," he whispers, looking around, furtively "there were three thousand of us, that was of course before Jangle disappeared!" Arrow picks up one of the pieces of casting from the bench and examines it. He rubs it on his sweatshirt, like some people do with apples, he inspects it again and gives it a final buff on his sleeve before returning it to the bench. He looks up at Crescent. "Does that answer your question?" he asks.
"No!" his friend replies. "It doesn't, not fully anyway."
"What else can I tell you?"
"How many damn robots there are in this flaming dome?
"That, Crescent my friend, is a very good question! And a very difficult one to answer."
"Yeah," interjects Dart, "nobody knows how many robots there are, there could be thousands behind those doors in the forbidden zone, for all we know."
"Well, we did count them recently," says Arrow, making a face and scratching his shaved head before continuing. "Actually it was Jangle and his friend Flippy, they counted eight hundred Pawns, ten Knights and four Rooks."
A pawn glides up to the bench where the three young men are deep in conversation, none of them see him coming until it's too late. He crashes into the metal frame, steel against steel, sparks flying, sending half finished components to the floor.
"Pick up the pieces! pick up the pieces!" The Pawn commands! "This is not a pic-nic, you men are here to WORK! Pick up the pieces and start again!" The Pawn spins around and glides off across the workshop.
"Phew, that was a close call." Says Arrow.
"Yeah, where were we up to, what were we saying?" Asks Dart, as the threesome crawl on their hands and knees picking up the bits and pieces from the hard concrete floor.
"I was telling you both about Jangle's survey." Mutters Arrow, banging his elbow against the frame of the workbench.
"Yeah, yeah, there's always been three thousand of us, everybody knows that!" Dart recalls, as they continue to pick up the pieces. "But, I don't remember there being so many blooming robots about!" He exclaims!
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