Jericho: Fighting Machine

"Blast." I muttered, making my way down the the gun deck. "Royal Navy goons,get off my ship!" I crashed onto the deck, pulling are revolving pistol from my belt and firing into the crowd. I managed to drop several of the uniformed men before running out of ammo. I drew a second, of the three I carried on my person, tossing the used one over my shoulder, and firing again, dropping six more soldiers. I drew my last one, trying to thin the crowd to get through and close the hatch, but the soldier nearest me knocked it out of my hand with the flat of his blade.

"Haha!" I laughed, drawing my own sword. "Now we're talking. Good old fashioned dueling." So me and him hacked away at each other for a while, when I heard my gun fire. Glancing around, I saw a man who had come close to shooting a couple of powder monkeys-the girls, I realized- sinking to his knees, a big hole in his head. Standing above the girls, still gripping the gun in one hand and a wrench in the other, looking at his arms as they hung lifeless at his sides, was Jacer.

I grabbed a gun from my opponents belt and shot him and two others, driving the Soldiers into a corner and dropping a huge cage on top of them as the girls pulled Jacer away. I quickly tied the soldiers up with their own belts, locked the hatch against further intruders, and ordered a few crew members to guard the other ship's crew, though they were trapped in a cage like a bunch of lobsters, it didn't mean they wouldn't attempt anything.

Once I'd taken care of the navy, I headed out the door, following the girls, down the narrow passageway. I heard voices from a room labelled "repair" it was the store room for all the repair tools for the engine and ship in general.

"How did he know how to do that?" That was Aster, her normally sweet voice sharp as a blade.

"Do what?" Eddy, still in denial,

"Fire a gun!"

"Maybe my dad programmed that brain..."

"How do you program a brain!?"

"Eddy," there was Jacer's voice, always calm. "Am I different from other men?"

Suddenly, it hit me. A man who ran on steam power. Whose limbs snapped at the first sign of hard force. An uppity little scientist who thought she could change her place in this world. I shook my head, and entered.

"What you are, my friend." I addressed Jacer, "is an automaton." I grinned at the shocked look on Eddy's face, then turned back to Jacer, who's face I couldn't read. "A robot that runs under it's own power, and a real good one, if I do say so myself. Whoever designed you wanted you to be as human as possible, so you have emotions, memories, instincts." I looked at Eddy now. "But someone took a few shortcuts I think, in materials."

"How dare you accuse me of taking--" Eddy's tirade was cut short by Aster's hand on her shoulder.

"What did you think he'd be doing? Butlering? Laying around your mansion all day eating sweetmeats and reading poetry?" I said, warming to my theme as mechanical advisor. "In case you haven't noticed you are running from the law. I think you knew that this whole thing is illegal. Why else would you have come to me in the hours before sunrise, begging to be brought onboard? Jacer is a strongly built man, with plenty of intelligence, and he doesn't shirk from hard labor, but his bones snapped under the strain. What'd you use, carbon-copper bicilicate alloy?"

Reluctantly, Eddy nodded. I sighed, that particular metal was cheep and easy to come by, but it was brittle and snapped easily under strain. I wouldn't install it in my cabin toilets, let alone my life's work, which Jacer obviously had been for Eddy. Reaching behind Eddy, I pulled out a few lengths of piping, made of the same metal as the rest of my ship, and held it up against Jacer's arm, testing for length and width.

"Now..." I said, turning toward Eddy. "Why don't you tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, while I get your protector a new skeleton."

The End

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